Today seems a good day to post this little article from 2015.
It was a rare pleasure to meet the various people I interviewed for this, and I came away feeling uplifted. The thing is, nobody does anything in this world without support, whether we see and acknowledge it or not.
We are born irretrievably linked into an interweaving of energies, manifest as the most wondrous array of beings, some of them well beyond our comprehension.
So let’s confine ourselves here, illusory as that might be, to consider just human inter-relations. We live at a time where tides of global expansion have moved and mixed our kind mightily, whether that’s as colonists, immigrants, refugees, adventurers or migrant workers. Whether we come to see or whether we come to stay, we are profoundly affected by what we encounter when we move, however far we move.
We are bound to encounter those with more, and those with less, those of higher and lower station in the human world. If we’re lucky, we see the spark of divinity, beauty, worth, dignity, in each and every one. If we’re wise, we appreciate that spark, always there to be kindled between us, whether we come as persons with plenty of resources for our fire, or persons experiencing lack.
The people I interviewed for this article all met me with that spark glowing brightly. The energy and joy they shared still resonates. That resonance matters just now, when I’m much occupied with public conversations in my town, around issues of cultural appropriation, and of the relative merits of fusion and separation.
I, of course, am a child of cultural fusion, first generation mix of radically different cultures. In my core, I can’t be trusted ever, if you seek a companion in some quest for cultural separation, or in pursuit of notions of purity of tradition.
However, I’m also not stupid. I see how robber-baron actions in the past have contributed, in this moment, to a society of frank inequities in terms of access – access to resources with which to create artistic and cultural works, and access to audiences for those works. Furthermore, there’s inequity in terms of deciding what the prevailing stories will be. I’ve worked long years against a tide of pressure to write as a victim.
I’m not a victim, and not interested in amplifying victim narratives. I’m interested in resolving issues that victimize people. And that work does require people who’ll raise those issues. I’ve done it sometimes, in my artistic practice. But it can’t have centre stage, ever. Not for me.
At centre stage, there are stories like the ones told to me by the remarkable people I met while writing the article above. I love their stories because they talk of dreams, and of visions, and of goals; and they have all dared to act to make those dreams come true. They’re walking the talk, and their walk is beautiful. A constellation.