Village People



Over The Town. Marc Chagall, 1918

Over the Town. Marc Cha­gall, 1918


It takes a vil­lage to raise a child.  We’ve all heard the proverb.  I think it takes a vil­lage to do almost any­thing, whether that vil­lage is defined by geog­ra­phy, pas­sion, blood­line, pro­fes­sion or adop­tion.  Our cre­ations always require the touch of oth­ers some­where along the line, whether it’s rais­ing a small human or putting a new sto­ry into the world.  Any­one who says dif­fer­ent­ly is sell­ing some­thing.

So why is it that one of our deep­est myths is that of Sin­gle-Per­son-Makes-Good?  What is it about that sto­ry which turns iso­la­tion into an anoint­ment, and the soli­tary fig­ure into some kind of demigod?

The indi­vid­ual as savior/fixer/developer/creator is a sto­ry old as time, but it’s one that is inher­ent­ly untrue.  Its roots can be found in enti­tle­ment and iso­la­tion­ism, and it’s a par­a­digm the U.S. has embraced whole­heart­ed­ly.  It’s the same “go it alone” machis­mo which birthed the myth of the Starv­ing Artist, the Lone Wolf, and the Man With No Name.

Some down­sides to the sto­ic iso­la­tion­ist sto­ry are that the Lone Wolf remains a bro­ken man–I’m look­ing at you, “Out­law Josey Wales”–unless he accepts the com­mu­ni­ty gath­er­ing around him, the artist almost always dies of tuber­cu­lo­sis (or mad­ness), and the Man With No Name always leaves a trail of dead bod­ies in his wake.

As an artist, neigh­bor, and coun­try­man, I’m all for embrac­ing a more flex­i­ble mod­el, one that makes it accept­able to ask for help, to lean on and learn from those across the aisle, to acknowl­edge the con­tri­bu­tions oth­ers make to what we build, and to help them in return, as equals.  I want my coun­try to learn the gift of col­lab­o­ra­tion, not sim­ply dic­ta­tion.  My hope is that we–especially the suc­ceed­ing generations–ditch the tox­ic, fear­ful con­cept of “oth­er” and embrace being an open and equal mem­ber of our glob­al vil­lage.

Here at Ink in the Veins, we’re try­ing to be the change we want to see.  I’m unwill­ing to accept the strug­gling, lone­ly, tuber­cu­lar writer in the freez­ing gar­ret as my par­a­digm.  Our tribe–other pen mon­keys, gamers, artists, dream­ers, visionaries–stretches up the West Coast and extends around the world.  We embrace a glob­al fam­i­ly.  Sure, the act of putting words on paper is often soli­tary, but fre­quent­ly (and in Simone’s and my case, repeat­ed­ly) cre­ation is col­lab­o­ra­tion.  No artist exists in a vac­u­um.  I don’t think any cre­ative per­son does.

Our stories–the ones we tell and the ones we take in–are how we con­nect to our world.  They’re our bridges, our explo­ration, our way of open­ing the door and let­ting in some­thing new.  They’re our way of embrac­ing life’s dif­fer­ences.  They’re also our invi­ta­tions to you.

Ink in the Veins is our vil­lage.  We hope you’ll join us, sit by our camp­fire and share in the sto­ry­telling.  Our vil­lage is your vil­lage, our yurt your yurt.  Please share your thoughts.



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