Meredith and I are enjoying the last of our Summer vacation. The weather has gotten palpably colder, and the sun has been setting sooner than I've been used to. I've also been feeling sleepy at 10PM. That's a sure sign to me. We've been trying to watch X-Files Season 3 DVD's and I've been falling asleep through some of the episodes (I've already seen all of them, but I need to stay awake to field questions from the significant other).
Many folks have been talking about the Best of American Poetry series. To be honest, I stopped buying the series years ago. I'm less interested individual poems, these days, and more interested in what an artist does over a long series. Anyway, what's evident is that poetry, or for that matter, the arts, is operating in a patron/patronage system, and many people wish for a more democratic system. Rather than the wealthy or the nobility commissioning writers/artists to create a portrait or write an ode, nowadays we have grant-giving institutions issuing monetary grants--mentors bestowing blessings upon their betters. We hope that such an institution, again, would be more democratic but often the selection committee members know of a dude who knows a dude. What we need to be clear about is that the arts and many other ventures function under a gift economy (quid pro quo). I do like what what Charlie has to say about this whole affair.
To be sure, I've participated in this gift economy. I've told friends to check out this journal or that reading venue. I've also been solicited by friends to submit work to journals, anthologies, etc.. At the time I've done these "favors," I didn't see them as "favors," but as community-building. Would I like a system that allows for a broader democratic participation? Of course. I would also love more acts of charity as well as humility. Meantime, I'm going to continue writing, sending my work out to journals, filing my rejections in a large folder, filing my acceptances in a small folder, and I'm going to do my best to model my understanding of what it means to be a writer.
I've been cleaning up my office. I finally hung up some curtains. They're quite ugly and they don't fit correctly on the posts. At least I won't have the administrators staring at me while I surf blogs . . .