"And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space." - Khalil Gibran, from poem Giving
"Originally published in 1983, The Gift is an inquiry into the place of creativity in our market-oriented society. Starting with the premise that the work of art is a gift and not a commodity, Lewis Hyde's revolutionary book ranges across anthropology, literature, economics, and psychology to show how the "commerce of the creative spirit" functions in the lives of artists and in the culture as a whole."
This book tends to be more scholarly and philosophically denser than spritely visual poetry of graphic novels that capture my lilting lyrical life these days. However, I dare anyone to say the chapter on Walt Whitman and his gift wasn't pure magic. The book itself was written by a poet exploring the themes of how an artist thrives in a world that takes priceless to mean worth zilch at the market stall. So it's close to home, for Lewis Hyde himself.
Does art flow through you like a gift? Yet it doesn't feel like other things, including money, are flowing in?
If you've ever wondered if there could be a "better" way than the current set-up to share your gifts with the world without compromising the inspiration plus keep a roof over your head, this book is a good foundation to have that kind of conversation that results in direct action in the world. Nigh, a revolution in the world.
On 7/13/07, the day I received "The Gift" I wrote a conspirator (conspire: inspiring each other):
"We get to create a parallel universe that coexists w/ the service to me mine my economy... until the latter collapses like berlin wall. A velvet revolution. or vermilion. the art currency is just the entryway to temple of future now."
I believe the lines between artist and patron have blurred altogether. I believe we are in dire short supply of either these days.
In this day in age, we're all the Medicis. No matter if you envision yourself as the prototypical starving artist. Yes, you too. Me too. So, I'm sending "The Gift" to artists creating the next Renaissance. For every dollar you contribute, I'll contribute a dollar to buy and ship the book out up through a grand collaborative total of $1110.00, or Christmas Day, whichever comes first.
I've never one to mix giving with Christmas before - foregoing the exchange of presents as prescribed, obligatory event, this includes Valentine's Day and birthdays - but this year is an exception. If you would like a copy of The Gift sent to you, please include your Twitter account below in the comments or direct message me via Twitter, and I'll get back to you for your full mailing address. Please don't email - if you email me, it's more than likely lost in the avalanche and in the spam.
How It Works: There are no strings attached. No quid pro quo expected. No thank you notes necessitated. There is no catch. The criteria is that you must write your request in comments on this post before Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25th; and you must supply US address; and I'm limiting the absolute total USD to a matching gift challenge so that the giving cycle engages many more people than just the two of us.
Only one book per person, or per USA mailing address (share). (That ought to go without saying, and I trust my regular readers, but this is public after all. If you're even fluttering a thought about gaming or finding loopholes just remember I'm an artist too; this will thoroughly stretch the bank for December as it is...$555's more than my rent.) The book may or may not arrive by Christmas Day (it will be ordered by Christmas Day) depending on when you asked the universe.
Chip in for the matching gift fund here. Nutcracker Suite nutshell: So, if you chip in $15, then I'll match another $15, and so forth up to $555 in matches.
Enjoy all your gifts this season!
p.s. Does this mean you need a Twitter account? So far, yes. (It's free.) I might extend the offer later to non-Twitteristas, but this is my sneaky way of getting you to join. I'll be using Twitter to spread the actionable part of the The Gift ideas further in 2008 more so than this blog, so that's the plot if you're wondering. I'm over at twitter.com/eve11, btw.
Art credits. Why it's from the fresco cycle in the Medicis' Magi chapel, of course. Lorenzo was a fine supporter of the arts, and a poet himself. A detail from the "Journey of the Magi Cycle"...that magi trio being another fine set of givers.
(I have to wonder if we'd have Michelangelo works at all in this day and age without Lorenzo's support. Hmmm....)