Tag Archives: creative class

divergence from dreams

If you’re watching the “Divergent” trailers and you replace the word “divergent” with “special,” the appeal of every big YA property is pretty much summed up — though it’s unusual that the metaphor is so thinly veiled. And now that I have your attention(ha!), I can write about something that matters more to me.

Most people have dreams, and while some people never work at actualizing them in any long-term sense, it’s surreal when you see people who do give up on them. I feel cheap for even writing “dreams,” with shows like “The X-Factor” having made that term even glossier than the old Disney trope. Those dreams seem to require some combination of luck and specialness, or lucky specialness. We all have them at some point, but the more realistic kind of dream, in which perseverance and skill can get us to some better way of living, often requires a bit more luck than we’d like to think.

Never mind that some dreams depend on how much you can fit into some template, and that, if you don’t, you have to reconcile with such. It’s hard to time to develop much of anything without some kind of inspiration; it’s a luxury, for sure, and the conditions that are conducive to such are more support than some people have.  I suppose sometimes working at one’s dreams feels like you’re one of those donkeys with a carrot on a stick extended just beyond your reach — except you’re a bit more self-aware.

It’s hard to be self-actualized when the world doesn’t really work with you a whole lot. I once listened to someone talk about the art that people who had (and often were considered) nothing created, in contrast to privileged calls for a need for this or that to properly do anything. The point was clear, but there was no consideration for just how more appreciated the privileged perspective would obviously be on their own venues. And the new venues — they’re often a popularity contest.

It’s unfair that you have to work with a world that often doesn’t work with you, but the gap that you fill as you do so makes for something with a lot more substance/heart. I’m not going to conclude this with some super optimistic bent, because it can be harder to maintain any real sense of heart when you’re not privileged. (And yet, often the privileged just manage a semblance.) All I can do is tip my hat that you keep making the world a better place to be, working at your dreams or not, just by being in it.  I hope that you can keep producing art, though, and that we find ourselves laughing at those “Divergent” commercials and then laughing a little harder when we see that someone else gets how funny they can be.

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Small towns in big cities

From Ryan Sager’s “How Big Cities Can Lead to Small Thoughts“:

“Though big cities have more than their share of trailblazers, with gentrification they’re attracting wealthier and more risk-averse, group-oriented types,” says Richard Florida, author of “The Rise of the Creative Class,” which explored the question of which cities are most creative and why. “Hipster urban cultures can be just as monolithic, homogenous and creativity-squelching as any other,” he says.

For all the admiration heaped on cities as sources of creative frisson, there’s nothing magic about concrete and good cappuccino that keeps us from sorting ourselves into social satrapies. Sometimes it’s a trendy phone, sometimes it’s a monolithic political or ideological culture. But whatever it is, “small town” thinking can crop up as easily in the megalopolis as in Palookaville. For those satisfied in their city ways, it may just take a little extra effort to Think Different.