Cultivating Interview 10

Some of what you are suggesting doesn’t really sound like collaboration, the way most folks would think of it, especially if one is describing it as an intentional effort to “combine forces,” so to speak. Talking over coffee and having someone listen to a presentation are things lots of us do as a normal part of living and working. Some readers might say that you are defining “collaboration” so broadly that it doesn’t have enough substance to mean the more intentional and decisive efforts I just mentioned. How do you respond to that critique?

I’m not terribly fussy about whether or not we use the word “collaboration” to describe what the Inklings did or to characterize the steps we can take to support one another as we strive to do our best work. What matters is to expand the various ways that we connect and learn to be intentional about involving others in various steps in our process. Think about a whole range of activities here:

Fishing for new ideas.

Dreaming up new projects.

Taking up a challenge.

Writing with anticipation of how others will respond.

Dealing with criticism and correction.

Sustaining faith to see it through to the finish.

Maintaining courage to send the work out.

Writing reviews.

Creating characters based on each other.

Composing poetry together.

It’s energizing, isn’t it, to see what happens when creative people work together? It’s fun for me to see the ways we bring out the best in each other by getting involved in each others’ creative process. Iron sharpening iron, to be sure, but more than that. There’s something more catalytic at work. Something that becomes so much greater than the sum of its parts.

This question-and-answer is part of a larger interview conducted by Lancia Smith with Dr. Diana Glyer in January 2016 on “Cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.” To read the full interview and gain further insights into creative collaboration, click here.

About Diana Glyer

Diana Pavlac Glyer is an award-winning writer who has spent more than 40 years combing through archives and studying old manuscripts. She is a leading expert on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; her book The Company They Keep changed the way we talk about these writers. Her scholarship, her teaching, and her work as an artist all circle back to one common theme: creativity thrives in community. Her new book is BANDERSNATCH: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings.

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