Help Offered

by david

(This is the final post, but for a wrap-up, in a series describing some big plans for 2013.)

At the last minute, I’m moving the end of this post to the beginning. To read the rationale, scroll down. I didn’t want to bury the lede.

If you want 8-10 hours of my help with a creative project, I’m available.

For each remaining month of 2013, I am asking someone to ask me for my help. A website? A show? A video? A book? Your Hunger Games puppet opera? I want to help you. And I want to help you for at least 8 hours.

I’m not joking. If I know you already (sorry, complete strangers, friends get first pick), email, call, message, comment, or tweet. Get in touch. Claim a month. Here’s what I promise you: a minimum of 8 hours of my attention and participation in making your idea real.

Is there an element of hubris to this, to assume anybody wants my help? Sure. But nonetheless, I’m offering. I’m actually not offering, I’m asking. Put me in, coach.

OK. Now back to the beginning. Why am I doing this?

One of the tradeoffs if you want to be part of the life of your small children is that you don’t get out much. Some people are better at getting out into the world than others. Admittedly, I was a homebody before I had kids, but these days, I’m feeling a little Salingerean. I’m sure the frequency of my Facebook activity annoys some folks, but to them I say, “Shut it. My only connections to most of my friends are digital right now.” Now, as I said, being a bit of a recluse anyway, this isn’t meant as a complaint, just a depiction if reality.

There is a consequence, though: my disappearance from the physical world of the creative people around me has diminished the opportunity to do fun things with them. Not doing sketch comedy, not working on one-off shows with others, not doing stand-up, not running into people in the lobby, all of these nots, they add up to what you’d expect: not + not + not + not = not much. And my absence also reinforces an idea that I’m not available. It’s so bad that I recently learned that several people thought I’d moved to New York. Still here! Still available!

I don’t think it’ll come as much of a surprise when I tell you that much of the inspiration to do all of these things I’ve been blogging about comes from reflecting on the passing of TC Cheever.  I mean, life is precious, and the reason TC could honestly say he had no regrets was that he didn’t squander his days on pettiness. He spent his days open to his friends and family, saying “yes” and “how can I help?” His friend Steve, at the memorial service, encouraged everybody to be more like TC. I will never do it as gracefully or as naturally as TC did, but if I make a commitment to say “yes” more, and to invite the people in my life back into my life, I think that’s a legitimate response to Steve’s request.

I can’t offer you more than what I’ve got, but I can write. I can edit. I can collaborate. I can act a little. I can brainstorm. I know a thing or two about the web and have some actual, professional marketing, communication and research skills. I’ve edited books and punched up scripts and hollowed out mannequin horse hooves in the pursuit of helping make ideas real. I’m willing to do any of that, or to stretch my skills.

This isn’t a Help Wanted sign. It’s a Help Offered sign. All I ask in return is that the next time a friend tells you about a great idea, help them. Remove an obstacle for them or make a contribution. We all need help. I’m going to need help with every goal I have this year. I can’t ask for that without also offering.

Pick a month. You’ve got at least 8 hours of my time.