"Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy, only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is." - Willa Cather
This week marks the seventh year of the Crossroads Dispatches blog. Specifically the big b-day will be this Sunday, February 6th. Beginning yesterday I've been doing a retrospective of the last seven year's worth of themes in my head (it's significantly been reinvented over and over the last seven years).
Then, I was thinking forward to the vision onward, and why you might care to spend your precious life--be it even five minutes of it--immersing yourself here on any given day.
I don't write to write as many authors do (if I did, I'd have written a book by now). I write for the potential of creative interaction, for feedback loops building off each other, for the mutual sounding board, for collaboration. It's a bit easier to do this online because of the inherent design and nature of the Internet than, say, a poetry chapbook.
This vision thing is going to evolve and develop over the course of the week. Currently, I think I'd like to delve into the theme of abundance. Abundance in the broadest conception of that word--even to the point of being about wholeness, and inclusivity.
So how does it relate to the opening quote and to truthfulness? It's a half-baked hunch. There'll be a point to this rambling surely by the blog birthday. It's just not fleshed out yet.
Yesterday, I thought to myself: "It's brave to admit to global audience you have $2.99 in your bank account." Admittedly, it's not that uncommon especially for bootstrapping entrepreneurs, or anyone taking risks. Yet, somehow instinctually I know it is a taboo to mention your bank account balance aloud, in public, in North America unless it's in upper strastopheres. It's even taboo in private one-on-one to anyone besides a close confidant.
Is this an act of bravery?
Or is it simply honest, truthful, transparent?
Is it sharing?
"Scarcity is the default mode for most of us. It's a hard habit to break, but almost always worth it. Scarcity involves hoarding, and abundance involves sharing." - Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Comformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World
Scarcity involves hoarding. Abundance involves sharing. Hmmmm.....
I sense I've been hoarding. I've been holding back the gems of my life from this blog. I've been holding back the coarse black coal as well. It's appears safer to stick to middle ground stuff. Mind my P's and Q's. You know, don't rock the boat.
My dream was once--and maybe it still is yet I'm also putting everything on the table for re-inspection--to be in a moai.
What's a moai? Without looking it up online, off the top of my head, to me it's having a clan that mutually supports each other emotionally, mentally, financially--in every realm, yet we don't reside together in a commune nor an ashram. In the financial sense, we'd pool money together to invest in each other's dreams to see them come into fruition. Sometimes it feels like a pretty naïve concept--especially in the West where everyone appears to prefer to be an island (nod to John Donne). (It's funny that moais developed on an island, and in the East.)
Interrelated, I was intrigued by this passage quoted below--specifically, the PLANTING SEEDS sentence. The vision of this blog I have going forward may have to do with planting seeds, letting life live and thrive. Not in the sense that I am planting seeds into your head (I've an aversion to persuasive writing as it feels controlling). Without further ado, here's the passage:
"If You Eat the Rich, You Will Soon Starve
Let's assume we take $1 billion away from the wealthy and redistribute it to the working poor, the below-middle class families struggling to make ends meet. This will result in each family getting, let's say, a hundred bucks. What will each family do with this windfall...
Will they rush to Wall Street to invest it in ways that create venture capital to launch new businesses and support new product invention, thus creating new jobs and exportable goods that help to balance trade?...
Will they run out and use it to buy investment real estate? Will they fund medical research or universities? They will not. [The author says it'll mostly goes to "necessity" purchases and to lowering debt.] It will not be planted as seeds to grow in ways that enhance the economy and its ability to provide jobs, better jobs, health care, or community development, nor will it be invested in ways that make a difference in the individual's family life. That is the cold, harsh reality."
[Here the author does an aside, although relevant to me as I've spend a good chunk of time living in post-Katrina New Orleans, and riffs on the corruption and waste of government funds allocated to the Gulf Coast for rebuilding. . .] "However, private investors from Donald Trump to countless individual entrepreneurs, and private individuals like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, have been getting things done and are having positive impact--with private money.
Taking money away from the rich accomplishes nothing positive for anybody. Leave those same billion dollars in the hands of the wealthy, and most will get invested, some will be put at risk, in ways that do create or expand businesses, fund medical research, hospitals, and universities, create jobs, create better jobs, and in countless ways, benefit everybody. Because the affluent already have their needs met, additional money placed in their hands tends to be, in large part, invested, in other part, spent on goods and services. Money passing through affluent hands is jet fuel for the economy." - No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent, by Dan Kennedy
I'm sure all of us have a point of view on the above passage and have our own list of pros and cons as well as truths and fallacies of these statements. For me, the intriguing part are the questions that arose, including these 3 questions:
1. What have I done with my money the last two years when I was living below poverty level. Did I plant seeds and "spread the wealth"? Did I primarily subsist, stay afloat in self-preservation survival mode as the author assumes?
2. What would I do with $100 now after having considered this? Anything different?
3. What if I gave away $100 to someone--perhaps someone reading this blog this minute? What if I gave YOU precisely $100? Would you use it to plant seeds? How?
Serendipitiously, yesterday I was skimming Chris Guillebeau's book, The Art of Non-Comformity at the bookstore, and he specifically talks about starting a business for $100 and cites a few solid examples.
When I got home, I went to Chris Gullebeau's website, and there's a new forum called, The $100 Business Forum (so actually it'll cost $200 to launch your project, as it's $100 to register).
So I'm curious in the interest of an experiment, let's call it (to be a little facetious) The Eat The Rich Experiment, how you'd use an extra $100? Recall, the above passage also includes "invested in ways that make a difference in the individual's family life," so don't feel constrained to start a business; there's many types of seeds. Share your answers below.
p.s. SoHo (New York City) is a pretty good example that sometimes broke, yet visionary and edgy artists do plant seeds that yield fruit; see The Warhol Economy by Elizabeth Currid. (Not that I'm necessarily advocating being a penniless bohemian. And not that I'm not. It's your life.)
p.p.s. I have $2.29 in my bank account, in the interest of radical financial transparency.