The Keepers of Risk and Possibility

The Buy handmade badgeTara Gentile and her posse of Great Minds have twisted my head up today. Being a working artist is a continuous rubber banding between being true to love and brushing off the fairy dust to face life’s sharp corners and heavy footfalls.

Walmart is real. And even if don’t want to accept it, the status quo of American Reality is this: we know-feel-believe that our consumer habits are tied to this inherently sick and broken Walmart model. And we don’t have a clear sense of how to heal ourselves.

Because we aren’t really sure we want to be healed.

Artists, however, have the responsibility (don’t I hate that word??) to be the keepers of risk and of possibility. If we rely on the corporate model to define our outcomes, we not only cut our own creativity off at the knees, we poison the well of our indigenous future.

Which sucks. Because even if our Etsys are “successful,” such communities are not the breath of life behind our best work. They act as a safe harbor, and as a facade as well.

So, in the same way, I agree with Tara when she argues that waving a banner for buying handmade is not the solution.

Maybe my response is inverted, however, I don’t know. But to me the answer lies in the instinct that when we start buying billboards to share with others that indescribable pulse of love, it seems to immediately lose its heart. And there we are, left with that pit of disappointment.

Curiously, my confidence lies nestled in these same artists– to hide away, to negotiate this wreck, and to make something beautiful.

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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