My what a world we live in… I have started multiple, varied drafts with the intent of positing, but I always run into a brick wall. Part of the reason for my absence was my attempt to keep everything political off of this site, with various, small exceptions; politics has been a major piece in my life during the last few
days weeks. Before that, it was the new year and forming schedules/plans etc.
Politics… despite myself, I cannot keep it entirely away from this blog at the moment. Some horrible things are happening, and some good things as well. If I am going to be entirely honest, and I wish to be, then I cannot ignore the small cavern that it has hallowed out in my life. So, this post is the beginning to a larger contemplation/discussion about art and life in these times (yes, writing will return to this blog, I promise). Hopefully you will bravely bare with me.
One of the running themes of these last few weeks has been reminder after reminder of how important art is, especially when the world is in turmoil. To be honest, society has always been flecked by turmoil, but I think the *ahem* recent events in this certain country of mostly-united states have brought so much social injustice and hate to the surface.
A week and a half ago, my family and I went to a Writer’s Resist event held in a small coffee shop where people could hardly spread their elbows. Writer’s Resist is an initiative created to share work regarding civil rights and equality (I highly recommend checking their website). It was wonderful to hear people speak about the importance of paying attention to the world around us, and share snippets of poetry/non-fiction, and short stories.
Last wednesday, I had the privilege of hearing a Lannan Foundation interview with China Meiville; he is an author whose work I have admired for a long time, although I have not read as many of his books as I would like. His writing crosses genres and breaks many of the barriers between reality and fiction that, I think, we are taught to stay within. He is extremely active within political and academic circles, and much of his creative work deals with government in one form or another.
I apologize for the fact that I do not have any direct quotes to share with you (I am starting to wish that I had taken notes), but one thing that he did speak of is using his writing as a way to explore concepts and ideas. Hearing him speak about his work, as well as snippets of government in general, was kind of a push forward to ‘oh my gosh, I need to work more.’
Now, the last major event to mention: did you hear of the Woman’s March on Washington that occurred last saturday? After our local sister march ended, one of the first speakers was a poet: she also spoke of the importance of work. It is creative work that leads us forward. Art is something that we cling to.
My mom often quotes one of her collage teachers: “Art teaches people how to feel.” I used to scoff. Such a concept always felt corny or impossible, but it is a potently valid point. Art does shape culture, so let us create a culture where no one has to hide as they walk down the street; where we recognize the fact that we all come from the same ancestor, and that none of us are perfect. We cannot expect to love everyone, but we can try not to be drugged by hate– and we fight. We peacefully protest, we speak out, we find some way to become involved, we stand for our rights, and we do not let those who want some of us dead kick us to the ground and stomp us into bone-dust.
So, art… let’s use art to maintain some sort of sanity; whether it is our own, or the sanity of an entire town. Let’s keep our art close, and follow the art of others. Let’s make art; we need it.
I hope to be around more often, especially as this year really picks up.
Until next time my friends!