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The potential for meaning is realized through supplementary action. Lone
utterances begin to acquire meaning when another (or others) coordinate
themselves to the utterance, that is, when they add some form of supplementary
action (whether linguistic or otherwise). The supplement may be as simple as an
affirmation (e.g. ‘yes,’ ‘right’) that indeed the initial utterance in some way, e.g.
when ‘the’ uttered by one interlocutor is followed by ‘end!’ uttered by a second.
We thus find that an individual alone can never ‘mean;’ another is required to
supplement the action, and thus give it a function within the relationship. To
communicate is thus to be granted by others a privilege of meaning. If others do
not treat one’s utterance as communication, if they fail to coordinate themselves
around the offering, one’s utterances are reduced to nonsense. Supplements act
both to create and constrain meaning. (Gergen, unpublished)
Steven Tatar echoes Gergen’s idea of coordinated action when he expands the vision of
creativity from an individual process to a relational process, one that incorporates
community.
You use the word ‘freelancer’ and in my mind I use the term ‘independent creative.’
In my mind more than anything else it’s about community. It’s about having the
benefit emotional, the professional, and sometimes even financial as a reflection of
oneself. It’s about the creative process that noise in your head not between you
and yourself but amongst people who resonate with me is the single most
important element.
It is participants’ relational connections, a seemingly unimportant discussion in a coffee
shop or a chance encounter, which indirectly pulls the freelancer to the next position. They
often use the term “luck” (see Jaffe Appreciative Reflection) to describe a happenstance
moment but freelancers have the improvisational ability to seize on a situation and
alchemize an opportunity and make it their own. Marc Jaffe remembers the importance of
his agent convincing him to check out Jerry Seinfeld’s performance in Cleveland and that
prompted a subsequent writing gig:
I had met Jerry a couple of times and didn’t know him more than casual hellos and
stuff. He had his show called the Seinfeld Chronicles four episodes originally in an
effort to get a whole series on. It was 1990, I saw that show and knew that it was
perfect for me. I should write for this. He showed up in Cleveland and I stopped in
to see him doing standup for the weekend. Afterwards I talked to him, I had been
doing some writing for Paul Reiser who was good friend of his the year before that.
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