I would never describe myself as someone who was that into Halloween.
Sure, I’ve had some fun costumes over the years, but elaborate outfits were never my thing.
I’m delighted to report, however, that for this year at least, Vlad has transformed that attitude.
Although our weekly pack walk today is a costume event, we’ve already debuted our offering at a hipster bar party thrown by our local pet shop.
Astonishingly, there were over 60 dogs (in full costume) in attendance.
Frankly, Vlad and I are are still recovering from the sensory overload.
In any case, allow me to share Vlad and my father/son creative offering:
He was a disgruntled litigant, and I was his trademark attorney.
Our case: we’re suing the emoji people for the unauthorized use of Vlad’s likeness:
I’m happy to report that everyone at the party seemed more than willing to sign our petition, supporting our cries for intellectual property justice.
I wore a suit and tie to match Vlad (of course!).
And, in case there was any doubt, Vlad had the time of his life, as you can see by a new fan’s social media post:
Anyway, I’d been planning on doing something along these lines for Halloween for quite a while.
All last week, however, even while I found myself getting surprisingly caught up in the details, such as making sure our blazers and ties matched perfectly, I also began to reflect on the irony of our offering.
Specifically, there’s a fascinating aspect to spending halloween as a trademark attorney in the same month I’ve devoted to creativity.
(Again, this month’s meditation HERE).
On the one hand, I’m cheerleading self-expression.
And on the other, I’m advocating (in a costume) for restrictions and limitations over (imaginary) intellectual property.
Don’t get me wrong: right now, my actual attorneys in real life are busy trademarking two pieces of IP we’re going to be unveiling soon.
And yet at the same time, that desire to protect our creativity may come from a beautiful and heartfelt place…but it can also lead us quite astray.
I’m a big fan of the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck.
One of the animals most connected to the artist is the Raccoon.
Kim Krans writes in her guidebook that:
“Raccoon energy is at play within all artists,
to greater or lesser degrees.”
This has both positive and negative sides, for as Krans further shares:
“Sometimes using a stage name or wearing a ‘mask’ works in an artist’s favor. Other times, it limits creativity.”
The raccoon’s mask might empower and free us, or simply give us something else to hide behind.
The way to bring the energy into balance, however, is always the same: making new work.
Lately, I’ve been feeling the tug of this mask energy with my new visual art project.
I often question if the ways I’m holding back from unveiling everything publicly right away are wisely strategic or simply fear-based.
Indeed, whenever you’re putting your work (or yourself) out there, obviously it’s natural to feel vulnerable.
There’s also the problem that I encounter frequently not only with my own projects, but also with creative clients:
Namely, holding back because you’re afraid that someone is going to steal your work.
Yes, there are definitely dangers involved in revealing your creations.
Certainly, for various projects even relatively recently I’ve had a few early conversations where I required NDAs (nondisclosure agreements).
I applaud such practical protections and yet at the same time also wonder a bit about the energy that lurks behind them.
Generally, whenever I’ve been on the other side of it––meaning, someone required one from me before sharing more––I wondered how often it was truly necessary.
It usually felt less motivated by savvy jurisprudence, than emotional guardedness.
They were, in other words, using legal documents to hold backthe floodgates of fear.
Alas, in my opinion, more often than not, these sweet souls are worried about the wrong thing.
You see, in my experience, the greatest danger any creator––be they artist or inventor––faces is not Piracy.
Instead, it’s a far more treacherous and relentless enemy: Obscurity.
Indeed, the odds are vastly greater that rather than someone ripping off your prize-winning plot, your novel will remain unpublished and unread.
On a practical level, some of our reticence may also be because we realize that an idea may be original to us but also in the zeitgist.
As Rick Rubin writes in The Creative Act:
“If you have an idea you’re excited about and you don’t bring it to life, it’s not uncommon for the idea to find its voice through another maker. This isn’t because the other artist stole your idea, but because the idea’s time has come.”
And as Victor Hugo said:
“Nothing is more powerful than
an idea whose time has come.”
On an energetic level, I think we also inherently know that NOT bringing forth our creative offerings, restricts us.
Again, as Rubin writes:
“If we live in a mindset of scarcity, we hoard great ideas.… A river of material flows through us. When we share our works and our ideas, they are replenished. If we block the flow by holding them all inside, the river cannot run and new ideas are slow to appear.
NDA or not, eventually we have to release our current creative expressions, if we want to keep them flowing.
The challenges will always be there––the threat of piracy, of course, as well as the damnation of obscurity, and perhaps greatest of all, the exposure of our vulnerability.
Even so, however creativity flows in your life, I encourage you to keep showing up and drawing from that river.
You might find it helpful and fun––as I have this week––to trust raccoon energy a bit more and explore some level of empowering mask or costume.
What’s important is that––when the time is right––you let your creativity not only flow but also bravely share it.
And, on a final note, if you do run into any legal snags, know that Vlad and I will, of course, be happy, available, and obviously experienced enough to take your case.
Namaste for Now….
And as proof of how successfully our outfits matched, one more pic: