Once again, H wrote me with some good advice concerning my limping kickstarter campaign. I opened his email while taking a break from research I was doing on grants for artists. His email collided with something I’d just read (and applauded) on the Surdna Foundation grant site. Here’s his email:
Something dawned on me today when I checked your KS page. Two things, actually.
The first, you actually could make your goal. $7k days are not that uncommon on KS.
The second is that you can’t seem to stop yourself from teaching, and I think you need to for this work, just as you should in order to write and direct the play. All the “truths” and lessons of story and of art should be axed. Because they are true and obvious when we see them in action. But the statement of those truths and lessons distract and dilute that action.
Tell why you love Tom’s legacy and The Lost Boy, why it is essential to your life’s work, and why your life’s work matters, why it has to be done…
You have time for one more ask…..
And, here’s the bit of text that I applauded from the Surdna site:
“Art is fundamental to our collective understanding of who we are, what we believe, and how we relate to each other and our surroundings. Artists and their coconspirators weave the cultural fabric necessary for a sustainable, vibrant society.”
In 1998 I applied for and was accepted into master’s programs in both painting and theatre (directing). It was confusing for me at the time because both acceptances felt miserable, like walking into a cage. In my desire to go back to school, I wasn’t looking for technique or an answer to “how-to.” I needed to take a deep dive into “why?” So, instead of the obvious route, I jumped into a degree in organizational systems because I could bend it to my real pursuit: art as central to the identity function of a culture: art (specifically ‘story’) AS the system. As the folks as Surdna wrote: artists weave the fabric necessary for a sustainable, vibrant society. The story inside you, the story-you-tell-yourself-about-yourself, is inseparable from the story happening outside of you, the story-the-community-tells-itself-about-itself. When a society has a living, breathing mythology, they live from a single, shared story. As Joseph Campbell famously said, “Our mythology is dead.”
We orient and make meaning according to a shared narrative. So, if there is something that bugs you about the world it is most likely a reflection of something within you. If you want to change the world, you must start with your self. How do we begin to tell a different story when we imagine that our story is separate from all other stories? How do we make a better world when the story of the individual supersedes the story of the community?
Working with the shared narrative, dancing with the inner and outer story in all of its power and potential is my life’s work. Tom is one of the few people I’ve ever known who understood this dance. He is responsible for igniting the fire in a legion of artists, for guiding a multitude of lost boys onto a power path. He opened my eyes to a deeper path through the arts and life. He taught me that the Greeks believed that the telling of the epic stories was necessary for the health and wellbeing of a community. He taught me that we’ve forgotten what the Greeks knew. The story of The Lost Boy is Greek and has the power to help us remember. Tom believed in a better world and that a better world happens naturally when we tell a better story. That is why this play needs to be done.
Go here to help me make possible a $7k day: