Trust the Harmony

I got to see Garrison Keillor perform his Prairie Home Companion Show at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday.
Keillor has been doing his show since I was a child, on National Public Radio. There were three radio stations I was permitted to listen to as a kid: the two Christian radio stations and NPR.
The one Christian radio station was very very old fashioned and heinous. The other Christian radio station would play Amy Grant and her ilk, and was therefore close to acceptable.
NPR has mostly heinous, but sometimes it was ok. Prairie Home Companion was ok. He told stories and was silly.
In the media desert that was my teenage years, Garrison Keillor was worth listening to on Saturday and Sunday. He talked about the people in his fictional town of Lake Wobegon, I saw a real humanness that was completely missing from my church. Forgiveness, sadness, soft delight, all the feelings that ordinary people feel in ordinary life.
He was a staple. I still enjoyed listening to him as an adult, although I was not such a loyal listener as I had been.
I live here now, close to Hollywood. I’ve been to the Hollywood Bowl. As a teenager, it was inconceivably sophisticated (literally inconceivable. I had never heard of the Hollywood bowl, and would have thought it was a football stadium that could house a super bowl).
I understand how Garrison Keillor would chose to have his show at the Hollywood bowl. It’s lovely, with an amazing history of entertainment.
Just like him. Prairie Home Companion is so authentically Keillor that’s it’s inconceivable to imagine someone else taking.
Just as inconceivable to imagine it ending.
So I sat and watched (WATCHED!) this radio show. And I realized he’d made it, and he’d kept making it. Just the way he wanted to, like nobody else, for more than 40 years.
I thought, Hey! I am like him. I have made my blog just the way I wanted to, like nobody else, for years and years. I haven’t stopped doing it! We are alike. I’m 14 years in, not 40. But give me time.
I watched him up there, with his team. And I realized he does something I do not do.
He showcases other people. He invites musicians and artists to participate in his creation.
At one point, he was talking with one of his singers. She said “You are singing lead. I know you like to sing harmony, but you are the lead on this one.”
He did like to sing harmony. Even when he was SUPPOSED to be the lead, he fell into harmony.
Perhaps because of the upbringing that demanded self-denial to the extreme, I am afraid to harmonize.
In this Hollywood area I live in, “acts” abound. I am friends with directors who do great work, and I am amazed at their ability to lead a team of people to realize their vision.
I don’t trust the team. I have a vision of what I want to create.
Even this blog post, I know what I want it to be, and I don’t want anybody else tainting it.
I also know that it’s possible
Just possible
That contributors could add to the outcome. Collaboration can mean the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
It’s just
It’s just that collaboration has meant that I have to cut pieces of myself off and leave them behind to fit the mold.
It’s too high of a cost.
Watching Garrison Keillor work with his team, I was so struck at his longevity. He did it.
He showed up and did it for years until decades until it is his legacy. He said this was his last performance but I don’t believe it.
He loves to harmonize.
I would love to find some collaborators. I have to crack open my tight doors and see if I could find some trust to extend.
It’s so powerful to be generously creative. Probably the greatest power there is.