Aside from brown paper packages tied up with string (I actually prefer twine—it’s clearly rustic-er), my list of favorite things includes communities of people who are both creative and willing to openly care about stuff. As tempting as ironic detachment is nowadays, it doesn’t lead anywhere, except an onset of paralysis stemming from the fear that caring is creepy. And if this fear is even partially embedded in a culture of emerging writers and artists, I think it gets in the way of some goodness that can happen when the arts freely overlap with the needs of the world.
One of those communities I like is Bark, and in the blog post I just linked to, you’ll meet one of those people I like, Jaime Wood, a friend of mine from grad school. If you haven’t met her, do, if you want to know a successful poet who is unapologetically enthusiastic and driven to have an impact. Her new project, Dream School Commons, relies deeply on narrative but is also quite specific in its mission to rethink and enhance the ways we educate people. Very cool. But also, not too cool. Right?
Also on this topic, I have to say that got my mirth on (GMMO, trying to get this to catch on and replace LOL) while reading a post I bumped into by Megan Amram. I don’t know anything about her. But I like these quotes, which came in the midst of a ramble about the 9/11 anniversary.
I can’t think of a better day to speak directly to my “demographic” – skinny 18-to-34-year-olds and spam bots. I am talking to YOU right now, Tweeters and Tumblrers and Bloggers and whatever the HECK else portmanteaus we can whip up while sitting in ironic coffee shops ironically listening to Spotify. We are coming of age in a culture not of un-enjoyment, but of anti-enjoyment. Passion is not just superfluous – passion is weakness. If you like things, you might like the wrong things, and then you’re WRONG with a capital “DOUBLE-U” with a capital “D”, and then you’re BAD and ugly and FAT and SUPER FAT…
…Spending your youthful energy on combative, kinetic apathy is a waste. Stuff is AWESOME, GUYS.
So, young creatives flirting on the edges of hipsteralysis: don’t worry. Caring isn’t creepy. Your jeans can still be skinny (I think that mainstreamed a while back though?). Your shoes can still be complicated. Just don’t shy away from caring, or from doing real art that is intentionally non-vague about a social issue you care about.