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The Person Who Gets It

The Person Who Gets It

My friend Mark Doyon of Wampus Multimedia wears many hats: writer, publisher, producer, singer-songwriter, record label head, marketing communications guru. Lately I’ve taken to adding my own particular descriptor to what it is that he does for fellow artists: he’s a creative coach.

In my case—and it’s probably different with every one of his clients, but I can only speak to my own experience—Mark is like the pitching coach who comes out to the mound in the sixth inning when the starting pitcher has temporarily lost the strike zone; he talks you down, gets you focused, and reminds you of how good you can be. Mark also has a gift for delivering pithy, insightful bits of advice that are so right on that I’ve taken to repeating them to other fellow creators.

Another thing that my multifaceted relationship with Mark has helped inspire me to do is seek out friendships with fellow creators. One that’s developed steadily over the course of many years is with the extraordinarily talented Jean-Paul Vest, the singer-songwriter whose kind words about Believe in Me grace its back cover.

Though we’ve been talking by e-mail for nearly a decade, I met Jean-Paul in person for the first time just last weekend, when he and his wonderful family stopped over in our area during their summer vacation. While we were chatting early in the evening, I shared with Jean-Paul one of Mark’s sayings, one that I’ve always thought was terrifically perceptive, both very true and very helpful. Mark and I had been in the midst of one of our serial e-mail conversations, and I don’t even remember whether the context was my reviews of his music, or his editorial comments about my writing, but we were reveling for a moment in the exchange of ideas and energy, egging each other on, and he said to me: “Never underestimate the importance of the person who gets it.”

Which isn’t just good advice; it captures the essence of the motivation behind everything I do in the creative realm. There might be ten people in the world who read Believe in Me and get it—or there might be ten thousand, or ten million. It doesn’t really matter to me, as long as there’s one. One person who gets it.

Jean-Paul got it, immediately. But the reason I repeated Mark’s words to him the other night is because I feel like I get Jean-Paul’s music in just the same way. Jean-Paul writes the kind of songs that I would want to write if I had any of the necessary talents to accomplish that. I don’t, but he does, in spades, and the songs that he creates speak to me in a profound way.

Needless to say, we had a wonderful evening, and it looks like the opportunity may come up to get together again soon, and I’m looking forward to it tremendously. Because again, what Mark said could not be more true. That person who gets it; that’s what this is all about. That’s why we do what we do as creators, the lonely, frustrating, endlessly fraught work of turning an idea (a phrase, a riff) into something meaningful, into a moment that speaks in mysterious language to someone else’s innermost self.

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