not about art

health insurance is not about art.  as I prepare to direct a grad program in cw and having spent a couple weeks talking with a lot of writers adjuncting their lives away (and seriously, you really think you’re getting an education if your teachers are teaching dozens of classes a year in any subject they can possibly put anything together about just to pay their rent & health insurance?) — so as I prepare to do this the fantasy is an imaginary organically arising school.  It helps that I’ve been sick in bed so this could be fever dream, but it goes like:  really sharp writers and artists all over the country/world start doing private classes here and there, not quitting their jobs.  They just have a little website, a few students, whatever way they like to do it.  We start associating, just link pages, recommend students to each other.  See if common ideology or resonances across approaches starts to become visible.  Come up with some standards– what qualities does someone have to contribute to maintain association.  Eventually there are enough people offering classes that we can define a shape, invite people, have a board, and the “school” is:  a not-for-profit non-degree-granting education in literary arts.  It’s for people who want to study with very accomplished people who are not trying to sell them a book deal or a job teaching.  If the degree is meaningless, (and increasingly it looks meaningful only when it comes to getting these totally exploitative jobs that people still really really want b/c they are less exploitative/dehumanizing than most jobs) let’s get at meaning w/out bothering with the degree.  Enterprise evolves toward something that can hire shared administrator, can convene, can eventually collectively purchase… health insurance (!)… and can slowly evolve into this rhizomatic body that helps writers be writers and build communities and learn things by keeping the enterprise about the art itself.  I know a business person who thinks this is not crazy.  I know I’m not the only one with this fantasy.  I know other people doing related experiments.  When the institutions no longer serve their purpose gotta build something new– exactly how much security do I need before I am one of the people who is willing to risk making something new?

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2 Responses to not about art

  1. beth says:

    thank you for expressing this, i see the new landscape clearly, and so it feels like it can and does and will exist,

  2. lucy says:

    thanks beth. not so easy a post to put out there…

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