The love of the thing (sourced on, October 5, 2023)

Some reflections here in the afterglow of a powerfully authentic and inspiring visit to our campus last week by Shad, Laurier alum and rapper extraordinaire. 

Too often, creatives stay in their respective lanes, failing to stay open to insights from quarters outside their discipline that may appear too distant from what they call “home”. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my decades of teaching, creating and performing, it’s that inspiration and wisdom can come from anywhere and anyone. The creative spark can be ignited in the most unlikely places.

So I share here some of the many nuggets imparted during Shad’s week-long Laurier residency, since they all speak to creative process, artistic voice and vulnerability:

  1. Don’t wait to feel “ready”, to feel totally secure. That moment will never come
  2. The fear of the vulnerability and discomfort in exposing our creative self is a strong indication that it MATTERS to us. Embrace it
  3. Show up. Day in, day out. Consistency and discipline count. Do the work. Create routines. Try. Do it
  4. It’s ok to love performing and also be up there and want to die at the same time. Both things can be true;
  5. The audience comes to see the high wire act. Dare greatly
  6. The ultimate is, of course, “Killing. The. Show.” A close second is having something to terribly wrong. In both instances there’s a palpable thrill, the opportunity for magic. Very far down on the scale is “a good show”
  7. Notice the difference between whether you seek honest feedback or validation. Choose the people you seek them from wisely
  8. As creatives, there is always more: more songs, more ideas, more things to learn. Never rest. Keep striving, growing
  9. There are two kinds of nervousness. One tells me “I need to prepare more”. The other tells me “I respect the audience and want to give them something good”
  10. Most importantly: it’s the LOVE OF THE THING. The love of doing this thing. That is what keeps us going, keeps us seeking.