StoryTelling Saturday's: A New Hope or the Last Hope
"It is the artists of this world, the feelers and thinkers, who will ultimately save us, who can articulate, educate, defy, insist, sing, and shout the big dreams. Only the artists can turn the “not-yet” into reality.
How do you do it? Find out what you can do well, uniquely well, and then do it for all you’re worth. And I don’t mean “doing your own thing” in the hip sense. That’s passivity, that’s dropping out, that’s not doing anything. I’m talking about doing, which means serving your community, whether it’s a tiny town or six continents."
These words were spoken by Leonard Bernstein in Massachusetts less than three weeks before I was born. When the Boston Globe recorded and reported these words, they stressed his message of hope in the chaos of our world and the artist's role within it.
Less than three weeks later, a professional photographer would become a dad, my dad. 13 years later he would buy me my first camera and with that camera I would take photograph's that would appear in newspapers. Nearly 46 years later that same camera would be freshly cleaned and in a few hours will be at a beach taking pictures for artistic purposes.
Last night I was at an artistic event surrounded by painters and photographers and thinkers and poets. It was an artistic jam the likes of which I had never seen. The spoken word artists, particularly a young man named Seven, moved me, inspired me and had me thinking about how I live my life.
My father was a great photographer. I am a damn good one. My father was a damn good writer, writing is what I do uniquely well. At this event last night I met many people. Two of them had actually read my writings in Aquarius News and have been moved by them. I sit here near Chicago and write for a small paper in Atlanta Georgia that has inspired people near Chicago that I met less than a mile from my home. That is powerful to me and it makes me realize that there is a social responsibility to our words and our art.
As I look at the world around us I have to wonder if artists are a new hope or the last hope for humanity. Politics and religion and commerce have had their run and things are getting worse and every time we turn around more wars are starting, more shootings occur, more people are dying of poverty. It does not matter who we vote for, where we worship or what we buy, the death count keeps rising. It is not just humanity that is at stake. The balance of nature is getting worse as more animals become extinct and the ecological balance is askew. The very planet is experiencing the trauma of climate change under the watch of religion, science, politics and commerce.
When the dinosaurs became extinct, it was due to a meteor. We figured out how to do it without one of those. We are dying and we are taking the whole world with us. But it is not over yet. There is beauty and wonder and love.
I am leaning toward the idea of artists, feelers and thinkers as being the last hope as opposed to a new hope. We seem to be running out of time.
The event I went to was socially conscience art and artists. To be invited to such an event was not just an honor or an opportunity for exposure, it was an invitation to change the word, but first I had to be changed. I get the joke now. I understand.
I hope we can inspire each other to do more. I hope that I do. I hope we all do.