Some thoughts on the value of art and words in the world……
Hello to my dear long time blog readers! I’ll be following this post up with a longer, more involved one over on the Patreon space in a little while. But first, a quick hello here with some encouragement for you to give the Patreon version of ‘online me’ a chance. With my annual Taos trip on the horizon in just a few weeks, my mind has been in preparatory mode – contemplating what makes these workshops tick, revisiting the artists and writers who can be a lovely philosophical underpinning to what I do and, perhaps, considering whether I will continue teaching at all as we head into the future. I’ve been thinking a lot about Work (capital W). More on that in the later post…..
The life of a creative person makes for beautiful and interesting blog and social media posts, but we must often remind ourselves that this is still Work. Yesterday a long time reader reached out about being a bit sad that I had taken to Patreon and that access to my writing suddenly has a pay wall. I knew this conversation would likely happen with my readers and so I’ve done a fair amount of thinking about what my response would be. I so appreciated her honesty about the cognitive dissonance this shift has created for her.
This blog has been a labor of love and offered for free since October of 2007. Some might say I am an “OG” blogger from the way back. Since that time, social media has come to the world stage and shifted our collective thinking on what is valuable and how we measure it. I have been told by many of my facebook friends and Instagram followers that the posts I share of my work and words, or the work and words of others who inspire me, bring some value to their online scrolling. I am careful with what I share online – be it here on the blog, or on the more casual social media sites and I am happy to be a force for good when I feel like being there. But what is the value of my presence online at the end of the day? Why bother even posting into the noisy chasm of the unlimited universe of the internet?
This pandemic has brought a lot of things into focus for all of us. For me, it’s been an opportunity to carefully consider the value of the work I put out into the world. If every one of my 1000+ facebook friends signed up to give a dollar a month over on Patreon, that would be a tidy little monthly income! But this is, of course, highly unlikely. With algorithms being what they are, most of those people I’ve collected there, via art and music, probably don’t even see what I post most of the time. And sadly, I often don’t see theirs either. (I am generally not a scroller). When the musicians and artists who’s work I admire put out a new album or book or have an art show, I pay for the download, purchase the book, take the class or buy the painting or pottery if I can. Because their work brings value to my own life. I suppose the decision to utilize Patreon as a way to earn some artful income is really just me saying that what I do matters. Most importantly, saying that to myself.
I wish we lived in a world where money didn’t matter. But money is the the method of energy exchange in our world and it is up to us to channel it toward the directions that mean something to us. For many, money is a bit tight. And so I will continue to dip in here to share now and then with no strings attached. And when I feel up to it, I’ll share on the socials too. (Those seem free, but aren’t really.) But the juicy stuff, the works in progress, the work behind the work, well, I will save that for the sphere where I know those reading really value it. Even for just a buck a month.
I hope that has helped clear things up a bit and that you will continue reading over time. Here on occasion or ideally, on Patreon where there will be more content.