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17 March 2007

Yes I KNOW I Wimped Out

30 in 30. Ha! Yes,yes I know. My resolve held for two whole days. I do however, have an excellent excuse. I forgot and then fell asleep. So now we begin again. 30 posts in thirty days starting from yesterday. But enough recriminations.
BakerySL is up and running. Twice artists and arts sympathizers gather around a virtual fire and share our thoughts, argue and dream under virtual stars. We talk about the nature of art, the role of the artist in society, the corrupting and necessary influence of commerce and sometimes we just talk about movies. It's an amazing experience. Health and geography have isolated me from my idealist brethren, at least physically. But technology has made it possible for us to commune 'face to face'. A few nights ago we talked about popular culture and whether mass popularity/mass marketing and artistic integrity were incompatible.
The general consensus was, well, mixed. Some said that art done with the wish to make money was no art at all. Others said that it there was nothing wrong with creating with one eye on marketability as long as one doesn't compromise one's vision.
Truth to tell, my own thoughts on the matter are decidedly mixed. I believe that public opinion is a succubus that can suck creativity from the soul and skew one's view of one's work. Ever notice what happens when an artist becomes really popular? Take as an example, my love-hate-love relationship with the talent of  Leo Di Caprio. He is talent as an actor is undeniable and yet, for a little while, his ego outstripped his talent. After Kate Winslet carried him through Titanic (don't get me wrong, he was good, but no where near as good as the howling estrogen-laden masses seemed to think)he turned in a few performances that were smug,even lazy. 'Everyone' thought he was great, therefore he was  great...full stop. His ability to self-edit, suffered.
Whether an artist becomes famous and begins to bring thoughts of his press clippings into his creative process; or whether she craves more attention than the work is getting and brings that need to be noticed into her process; it hurts the work. Having other people in your head makes it hard to sit down with you and your creative core and say, 'yes this part here, does what I need/want it to do, but this part doesnt.'
Don't get me wrong, an artist needs confidence. The only way to stand before a canvas or sit down before a blank sheet of paper and create anything of worth, is to believe that you can. To in fact, somewhere inside you, have the belief that you are the only one who can communicate a certain, thought or idea or emotion in this specific way. There is plenty of time for doubt and self-hatred--before you sit down or after you stand up.  But in the moment of creation there is none.
On the other hand, a girl's gotta eat. If no one is buying her work she's not eating, or she's working at a sucky day job and painting at night. Or she's cobbling together a few less sucky jobs to support herself and her work. Which eventually begins to suffer. Creative energy is just that, energy. There's only so much of it that can be drained away by nothing jobs (or even a really great non-art job, which in my experience, can have an even greater impact on one's creative energy bank)before the the work starts to suffer.
I don't think one should have to choose between one's art and the ability to make a living. I don't believe one has to. There's a lot of greed at the top which is making life unnecessarily difficult for the artist on the ground. The longer I work on Bakery, the more I'm amazed by the amount of greed involved and the basic unfairness-es under which artists struggle to support themselves.

And that is of course, why I do what I do.

14 March 2007

One of the biggest challenges our artist support project has faced is finding a way for artists and friends to get face time with us and each other. BotP has international aspirations (we have artist friends in Italy, Ireland, Canada and Costa Rica) and I've always wanted us to be a moveable feast. We rely heavily on technology to communicate with volunteers and the artists we serve. Which is great for keeping costs low and maintaining our flexibility. It does, however, make it difficult to gather everyone around the fireplace, so to speak. Our artists can't really drop by for a casual chat and we've missed out on the electric energy that is created during those spontaneous 'jam sessions' of creative minds. Second Life created by Linden Labs has changed all of that.
Second Life is a virtual world which allows people to interact on many levels, business, social, entertainment and much more. It is a phenomenon which has become an epidemic. When I signed on in late August to see what it was all about, the number of accounts was buzzing somewhere around 650,000 and people were talking about whether or not SL accounts would hit the big 1mil by year's end. That happened in October, and last week the number of Second Life accounts topped 2.2 million. Corporate America is sitting up and taking notice; Sun Microsystems, Dell, NBC and MTV, to name a few, have all created places in SL. And now, so has Bakery of the Poets.
Artists will be able to come over and hang out to talk shop or just talk. We will have book readings (including one from our new author Eric Pardue) concerts and art shows. Our first building is nearly finished and should open sometime next week. To check out SL and BotP's virtual progress sign on at: http//www.secondlife.com

Btw: The SL learning curve is a bit steep (but like most things, it's easy when you know how), feel free to email me before signing on. We can arrange to meet in-world and I'll show the ropes.:)

13 March 2007

The Ol' One-Two. Or a little something I like to call; 'Thirty in Thirty'. Or why Wil Wheaton is ruining my life

So I'm a fan of Wil Wheaton's blog. It was required reading for a loooong time. Then I lost track for a while, went through a time of no computer and then he went through a period of no blog, ships passing in the night. Anyway, I started reading again yesterday. My timing could not have been worse.  Sadly, for me I can never resist a challenge whether it's a book meme or a challenge to do thirty posts in thirty days. Suffice it to say, right now I hate everybody.  Hah! Didja miss me? Ready? Well, here we go.

12 March 2007

How Many Books Have You Read? Book Mem

I was minding my own business innocently reading Sophisticated Writer's blog when I stumbled on this little landmine. And a very seductive and irresistible landmine it is too. If you have a blog leave me a comment with the link and I'll come over to commiserate on being captured by yet another almighty meme...and ridicule your reading choices, of course.

How Many Have You Read?

*Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you've read.
*Italicize the ones you want to read.
*leave same the ones that you ardent interested in.
*If you are reading this, tag you're reading it.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher¿s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte (Only my favorite book of (practically) all time. I actually blogged about it once.)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker¿s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) (A book I found intensely irritating. Could Catherin have been more of a twit?)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) (Sophi is not in love with this series, I didn't even know there was one, but I did enjoy it for what it was; Brit Chick Lit, which is for some reason cooler than its American cousin)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) (my favorite novel ever!)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela¿s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She¿s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender¿s Game (Orson Scott Card)(Loved this book, loved this series, love OSC)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid¿s Tale (Margaret Atwood)(Grrrr...Margaret Atwood. She's like a bad ex-boyfriend I find her novels enormously frustrating, and yet I can't stop reading and each time I read one I swear its the last.)
60. The Time Traveller¿s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones¿ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte¿s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard¿s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)(I tried, what can I say? But I do think Archer is the master of the short story.)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)