Sunday, March 4, 2007

“Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.”

“Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.”
James Bryant Conant (1893-1978)

I was waiting at the gate for an early flight on February 15 (the date my new website was scheduled to publish). Most of the seats were occupied by the usual assortment of business travelers wearing their morning masks. I noticed a somewhat nervous looking young woman and smiled in her direction. She responded by asking me, “When do I know when to board the plane to Houston?” I answered her question and she proceeded to tell me her story: From a small community in a remote part of NC, she had never flown before, or even traveled out of state by car. She had awakened before 2:00 a.m. to make the 3 hour drive to Raleigh for the 6:15 a.m. flight. At least she had not been sleepy en route because she had been so nervous about the trip! She had a long day ahead of her, since she was to change planes in Houston (another new experience for her) and fly on to Portland Oregon, far from home, to visit a friend. She was not dissuaded from her intention to visit this friend by any of her fears.

I acknowledged her fears and sincerely congratulated her on her courage. Then I informed her that she now had a new ultimate scary experience which to compare all future events—a new benchmark.

As we deplaned in Houston, she seemed more confident and ready for the next phase of her adventure.

Once upon a time, my “ultimate scary experience which to compare all others” was driving an unfamiliar rent car in an unfamiliar large city to attend an orchestral audition. That was later supplanted by performing at a National Flute Association Convention, then by--the to-date ultimate scary musical experience--sightreading the piccolo part in Richard Strauss’ Elektra on opening night with Christoph Eschenbach conducting.

Publishing a new website, a long, drawn-out process of concept, creation, collaboration, and evaluation, does not compare to the immediate stress level of the Elektra experience, but it is a benchmark experience, nonetheless. Putting one’s ideas forward in such a public way calls for both clear intention and courage in the face of uncertainty.

I hope the information provided by the new website reaches those who need it.

I am grateful for the process of website creation and for those who have helped me along the way, especially Judith Gadd of Star WebWorks who has been an ideal cohort and navigator.


"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
Pablo Picasso

“Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful; yourself.”
Alan Alda

1 comment:

Judith Gadd said...

Just wanted to comment that Catherine has been great fun to work with on the website. We both travelled to new edges of the creative experience because of the collaborative process.

My scariest moment to date was in Bali, Indonesia, after I had travelled by plane and by car. I ended up on a remote street in semi-rural Denpassar. I went out of the house to take a look around and there was nothing familiar at all... the houses were weird, the trees were unfamiliar, the air was very hot and full of the strangest smells and sounds. There was some kind of toy windmill making a very fast clicking sound. I think everyone was taking their afternoon naps because the road was empty. I felt like I was on a different planet and I didn't know what was going to happen next. My heart was pumping very fast.