Monday, March 7, 2016

Make Art or Fuck Off

There aren't too many things I really loathe. There are many things that I generally do not like, a lot of things that I don't agree with, and several things that just leave me disappointed. I don't normally write about such things either. And I don't use my blog, or any of my other social media outlets to voice my opinions. I think that a person's online persona needs to be of the purest form. My online persona, and I mean with this blog, Facebook, or even with Umbrella Factory Magazine, I am Anthony ILacqua, writer.

For those who know me personally, I suffer from some furious social thought. There are those who suffer from furious political thought and we see them during election years like this one. I find the political people to be trite, cliché. Who cares what candidate you're pushing, they're all alike, at least to me. I'm terrified by proselytizers. For some reason I've always thought of religion peddlers as cheap. The sports fanatics who refer a specific team as “we” and they are not on that team's payroll I've never gotten. My social thought is simply that I don't care for highly organized things like sports, religion and politics. The other social hiccup: I loathe the person who wants “to thank a vet.” Don't thank me for my service, please. If you feel inclined to say anything at all, apologize for all the bad decisions you made at the voting booth which were influenced by flags, religious beliefs or the love of uniforms.

That said, a person can be into what they want to be into, I expect the same treatment. But these organized things are leading to what George Orwell termed “Group think” and no matter how you cut it, how can group think end any way but poorly?

The political conversations have been all around me lately. They've come on the heels of the Denver Broncos winning the football game. I live in Colorado and the Broncos make the front page of the paper everyday. And the football game came on the heels of the holidays which aside from the blatant commercialism, have religious connotations.

I'm left befuddled by the conversations around me which range from very passionate and heated to quite banal and stupid. This superimposed on the normal banter of TV, cellphone plans and the ever fluctuating price of gas leaves very little space to talk about other, deeper, more important stuff.

I took a walk to the lake with my family yesterday. It was a beautiful day. I had my Holga 120N with me and a fresh roll of 120 film. It was a very bright, sunny Colorado day, in short, not the sort of day, or time of day for a real photographer. But I'm not a real photographer, I shoot with a very cheap plastic toy camera and if there isn't bright searing sunlight, the camera doesn't do well. Sunlight, cameras or not, for me, I just wanted to see things, snap some pictures and spend time with my family. I landed up getting some images of an ancient car and dead cattails.

On the walk home, we started to talk about a comment I'd heard at work. “Who's voting for Trump? Certainly not the Mexicans,” someone said. I laughed. After all, who cares? I think we live in a one party system trying to pass off as a two party system. And really, they're all a bunch of scoundrels. So I said, “The people who own the voting machines. It isn't like you got any freedom.” And I'm met with head shakes and pity.

But it's really how I feel. I don't feel like we have any freedom. I feel like those on one extreme want to make anything we may do illegal, and those on the other side want to ban everything so as not to offend a single individual's constitutional rights. Yeah, I know, this is America and America is great. This is true enough. I've been to many places on this Earth that are worse than here, and I haven't been to places that are worse still. I have been to places that are better. It's okay, it's life, it's humanity, and it's our devout desire to organize things, politically, religiously and otherwise. With enough systems around us, the less we have to think. Who knows? Maybe this is a good thing.

We do have one freedom. We have the freedom of creation, words and art. We can create anything we want to in this country, and even if we confound, anger or shake those highly organized systems, we probably won't meet with a capital punishment. The United States does not imprison her writers and artists. It's something we have over, say, those who imprisoned Pussy Riot.

The last thought of the walk home was about what we're writing. My wife is a great writer and she's writing again and I love it. I'm always scribbling something. We don't have much say in our future, either individually or collectively. We don't have much material wealth. We don't have anything but our lives, and our lives are dedicated to work and paying taxes and distributing the last of our money to the goods and services that make us good citizens. We don't have much time. I mean daily, yearly, our lives. We're indisposed. We must work.

But we can make art. We can write novels, which may not have much, if any readership. We can hold onto those plastic cameras in hopes of capturing an image that may never grace other eyes. What about it? Make art, what else is there? Imagine if everyone suddenly took a walk with the notion of snapping a picture, or if everyone suddenly stopped all they were doing to write a haiku. What would become of the world? Less war? Less economic ruin? This is not a hippy thing. I don't care about love, just art. Start right now. Start right this instant. Go make some art. Or fuck off.

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