A Committee of One


Abigail: my silent partner!

I’ve literally spent thousands of hours attending committee meetings through the course of my life.  For the most part they’re poorly run, lacking in leadership, devoid of vision, late starting and even later ending.  Creativity crushers is what they are!  The two best definitions of committees I ever heard are first: a committee is a cul de sac into which good ideas are lured and then strangled, and second: a committee should be called idea skeet, as someone says ‘I have a good idea” and someone else yells ‘pull!’  What always happens in committee meetings is that somebody will be brave enough to put forward a really challenging, creative thought, to which all gathered are initially excited and supporting.  But (and there’s always a but!) another person will say, ‘I like everything about this except for this one little thing.  Would we all agree to remove it?’  And one by one, around the table it goes until everybody’s had a chance to delete the parts that they find offensive.  What’s left, then, is a project that nobody’s offended by – but nobody’s excited about either, including the originator.

When I’m in my shop building guitars I am a committee of one!  I set my own schedule, work at my own pace, make all the decisions, play the music I like, pat myself on the back at appropriate moments, and hold myself accountable for mistakes made.  For me, this solitary endeavor is, perhaps, the most important part of the creative process.  Oh sure, I consult with others from time to time for advice and opinions, but it’s on my terms.  I’m proud of what I do!  My work is far from perfect but it’s improving steadily.  I enjoy exhibiting my instruments and saying ‘I made that.’

It’s been said that a camel is really a horse created by a committee.  Some of my guitars may look like camels to you, but they’re my camels – proudly and boldly brought into existence by a committee of one!


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