Mary Boxley Bullington
Caring for cultureI just imagine there is a lot of desperation around these days as people try to adapt or don't adapt to changes in the publishing/art world. Perhaps that feeling of being helpless in the grip of change overrides careful courtesy at times. I've never gotten quite so many requests as I have recently--requests from writers that I help a certain book in some way, or that I buy a copy of a certain book. When you know a lot of writers, you can't buy their every book, even if you exceed your book budget. Because of those requests, I recently started a book announcement/information site for friends and e-friends. In addition, I do think it's important to share work you find wonderful. We still see mainly the books that are anointed as lead books from publishers, and that is not very helpful to either readers or writers; the internet (with a bit of courtesy, one hopes!) can help make books visible.
Really, we know that such a swamping of worthy art happens all the time. We know that not many people care for culture, and that many beautiful things are lost or nearly lost in the tide of what's pushed by publishers and the media. There's nothing revolutionary about admitting what we know but mostly ignore.
But we all may be culture-builders if we allow ourselves to be so. Here in the age of the internet, we can wrest the making of our culture from those who would use it for primarily material ends. And isn't that a revolution, a turning away from a lesser thing and toward a better one?
We can battle against the promotion of drek by lauding what is beautiful and true and valuable to the human heart. We can ourselves share what is a good and living art, and not a handful of dead leaves and maggots. In this way, we can bring our world closer to the heart's desire.
|"Maternity" by painter Mary Boxley Bullington,|
a friend of mine from long-ago college days