A Steaming Bowl of Hope

(Photo Courtesy of Dimitra Milan)


Dear World

Please Kill Me,

Greetings and welcome to the beginning of a new week (or the end of all things civil #Election2016). Now, I know that everyone’s likely strung to the end of their rope -awaiting the election- to decide whether or not to finally kick the chair over (Was that an accurate description, or what?), but let’s talk about something other than the imminent victory of (insert winners name here). Let’s talk about us (*places hands gently over yours*).

When is the last time that you spent a moment with an artist (other than yourself of course)? When did you last feel the cold touch of someone else’s strife and bereavement? When have you last felt the soothing waters of love vicariously flowing through you from an outside source? When was the last time that you actually appreciated what it is that we do, from a stance that wasn’t your own?

I know, I know -it’s almost against our nature to consider the works of others unless socially obliged to via universal acclaim – “to hang from the rafters as the slaves did from the trees -to be sold likewise.”- (Nice quote right? Glad you think so. I just made it up.) This proves my point.

As a collective, we must learn how to appreciate the amateurs and the up and comers – the same way that we do the so-called “professionals”. This isn’t a gripe on them either. If anything, this is a comment on the way people limit what they expose themselves to based on essentially nothing. We must be better about allowing room for the “new guys”.

Think about it -Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ( Thirdly Mc’Three Name). Everyone -even the greats- start at the bottom, they’re acknowledged by opportunity. As this culture becomes increasingly member-centric, those opportunities wane. The lack of room (in an admittedly crowded field) could scare off the next Andy Warhol or Stephen King (or hopefully Tyler Perry). We need to allow room for these people (except Tyler Perry), and that starts with each and every one of us. It starts at home. It starts with artists supporting artists.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally see how this can seem like an ultimately self-serving post, but I guarantee you that it’s not (at least not entirely). This month is NaNoWriMo – as most of you are tired of hearing, I happen to be participating this year. In my search for inspiration, I did what we all do -I Googled it. Obviously, the results for inspiration were the standard -“how to’s”, Tony Robbins, (some nonsense about “Your computer is bugged!”), etc. – useless, all.

Then I came here to the ol’ Wordy Press and I did something that I haven’t done in a while -I clicked on Discover. Pages and pages of some of the most beautifully done, laboriously created, and deafeningly consistent ART! INSPIRATIONAL FREAKING ART! From prose to poems, to paintings and drawings, even some cat videos – (those don’t count, but they’re still pretty AWESOME!).

It was then I realized that I may have been getting it wrong this entire time. We’re always taught to look up or look inward for inspiration – maybe we should just look next to us. I’d be hard-pressed to find a more passionate, hungry, ambitious, and pure -group of creatives in any other place. In this landscape -the one just before we’ve made it- we’re in our prime, it took looking beside me to see and appreciate that.

My Suggestion: This election day -after you vote (and subsequently wash your sinful hands, like Lady Macbeth), take a moment to look beside you at the amazing things that your peers are doing. You may be shocked to find out just how not alone you are (and I must say, they’re not bad company either).

Screw the candidates -support an artist, any artist. I know that I’m asking a lot (I mean, come on -you’ve got trolling to do), but it’d mean the world to whomever you choose. I’d like to think that’s enough to get you going. Then again, I am in an oddly optimistic mood. Yep, that’s me! Just a steaming bowl of hope.

Carpe Noctem!,

-Antwan Crump.

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