This is the last hurrah for the Wild Limb shoot. So sad.
This baby is a standard-sized (nine-inch), two-layer vanilla cake made with Cava and dotted with chopped, fresh strawberries. Like the others, it has an Italian meringue buttercream- dotted with chopped, fresh mint from my parents' garden. I'd like to say the strawberries were also from their garden, but... Maybe next year, Mom.
This shoot was so fun. As a creative, it's immeasurably necessary to have people in your life who support you, believe in you, want to help you. Without each other, we get nowhere; we accomplish nothing. And the thing is, we can all help each other. We all have talents to lend each other, as ways of encouragement and as unspoken whispers that say, "You're doing great. Keep going. I believe in you." We all need it.
It's not about the networking, or the climbing on top of each other to reach more bars of success, or the competitive conversation, or the approval from those who seem so inhumanly lofty. Yes, those frantic boasting moments will sometimes be hard to pass up. But, as you mature, you will indeed let them go. And you'll watch them meander on, knowing that they are not the point. The leg-ups are not the focus or the goal. Total immersion is the goal. And from my experience, you cannot get there without the help of those who believe in you.
At some time or another, each of us reaches a point of total disheartenment. It's a lowly and hopeless place, full of grim futures that reflect even grimmer souls. It's quiet and desolate down there. And that's when we need you, whoever the "you" happens to be that day (and let me just say: you better not hold back; we need your brave, bold words). We need someone to shake us, wake us from our sad delusion, and remind us that a) it's all going to be okay; and b) even if it doesn't feel okay, it's all still worth it. Every bit. Doesn't matter how much "success" you visibly witness or experience. Keep hoping. Keep dreaming. Keep creating. We're all here for each other. Because, inevitably, and soon enough, the camps will be switched. And you'll be generally content, whether that looks like gliding through your creations or working bullishly with your head down. And your friend, your sister, your mom, your fellow creative, the stranger next to you- they will be hanging by a thread. And they're going to need the same power-up that you received only last week, and it is your responsibility to slingshot them forward again. And that's how this cycle works, friends. We are here to believe in each other. We are here to create, to spur creativity in each other, to actively highlight the uniqueness in the craft of the souls beside us and say, "Yes, that's it! Keep digging, pressing, focusing, challenging. Don't quit now. In fact, let me help you. Let me carry this burden with you. We'll figure this out. We'll get through this drought."
And to me, it's that- that relentless scooping up of each other- that is so remarkable. It's even more jarring and beautiful than these creations themselves. We are here to bolster, to believe that something bigger and badder and better can take place through the distilling of our craft. Ours alone. Mine, yours. And without all this substance, what is the point? This is where the gold flecks flicker.
So, thank you, to all, but notably to Abby & Brendan, and Suz & Brian, and Noey & Barry-- for your belief in me and your most recent tangible help and your actions and words and gifts that say, "We've got your back. Keep moving forward." I've got yours, too.
Mega thank-yous to Abby & Brendan of Wild Limb Studios. See their personal work on Instagram: @wildlimb & @idlehourbaltimore.