|Interior art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins|
for Glimmerglass, now in pre-order
online or at your favorite indie
or directly from Mercer
The dominant culture tries to find meaning in progress, [American painter Juliette Aristides] said, but everything that is uniquely and profoundly human becomes disposable in that vision--such as the two million plastic beverage bottles sold every five minutes, or the 208,000 photos uploaded to Facebook every second. For Aristides, the aim of art--real art--is different than the aim of progress, because it is directed toward what is of enduring value. Viktor Frankel, a Viennese psychologist who endured years in a Nazi concentration camp wrote, "Man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life. . . . Man is able to live and die for the sake of his ideals and values." So artists need something to live for and work toward, which is of value both to them and to their audience, even if that audience is small. She cited J. R. R. Tolkien and the Inklings--an Oxford-based literary group that included C. S. Lewis and Charles Williams--as an example of a small group of people committed to an alternative vision that ultimately had enormous culture impact. The Inklings were not looking for critical success and commercial market share; they were driven to create mythic worlds that confirmed their deepest longings for goodness, truth and beauty. What they longed for was invisible, until they made it real.Those lines are so very kindred to my own thought that it makes me feel happy to read it--to think that others are out there, working with similar thoughts and aims.