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.

Welcome.

 

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