So maybe it was a mistake to revisit Making Culture as a way to return to sleep at 1:30 am –I don’t know. I randomly flipped to page 97 where Andy is talking about metaphorical gardeners, artists, cultivators, creators. This didn’t bring me any closer to my goal of sleep, because I think it’s very helpful for the project that ReGroup is working on. I’m writing now because I’m hoping this will help me stop going on and on about it in my mind. I always appreciated Andy’s use of “postures” in the book, and forgive me for not explaining it as he does. It’s closely related to attitude, outlook, and assumptions. Here’s the excerpt on gardeners and artists:
“And then, after careful contemplation, the artist and the gardener both adopt a posture of purposeful work. They bring their creativity and effort to their calling. The gardener tends what has gone before, making the most of what is beautiful and weeding out what is distracting or useless. The artist can be more daring: she starts with a blank canvas or a solid piece of stone and gradually brings something out of it that was never there before….”
He goes on to contrast this with the posture of constant complaining and criticism, which also leads to charges of hypocrisy (or contortions), not to mention a lack of positive change.
With the Slow Money conference coming up in a few days, the separation of the literal and figurative application is very small, and maybe that’s what making this so powerful to me. Also, I’m advocating a “culture making” approach to Slow Food, Slow Ag, and Slow Shelter for our area.
I’m thinking that there’s a conversation to be had about what type of artist is most appropriate. I’m not in the art world, but it seems there are artists who are skillful and passionate about depicting something commonly perceived as “beautiful and true”, and there are artists in the more abstract realm where I hear things like “challenges” and “I get it.” I suppose it’s a little heretical these days, but I think of how I prefer the more accessible expressions or depictions. Maybe it reminds me of an observation by Mathew Crawford in Shop Class as Soul Craft, where he explains the need for a servant’s attitude when repairing or restoring (what does the thing need?), as opposed to the attitude of independent creator (what do I want this thing to be?). That’s a little off topic maybe, but it might be part of a larger discussion for another post.
Slow Church thinkers will be at Louisville also, which was the deciding factor in my debate of whether or not to go. Great combination.