The Purse

This afternoon, on the way back from lunch, I tossed my purse on the back seat of the car next to Kim. She glanced down at it and said, “I like your purse! That’s cute!”

I laughed, because when I think about that purse—in any sense other than to pick it up and carry it around with me—I immediately think of the afternoon I bought it.

I realized when I packed up my apartment in Philly that not only did I seem to have a hard time throwing away or donating old purses (there was a drawer full of them), I also seemed to be stuck in a rut. When I pulled them all out of the drawer and set them out next to each other, I saw the truth: I only purchased small black purses. I had six of them in that drawer.

I decided early in the summer, after I’d moved down here to Charlotte, that it was time to get a new purse, and that I should break out of my rut.

I went to Target and perused the purse racks. I found a style I liked, but struggled with the choice of brown or blue/grey. Uncertain, I pulled out my phone to text my style gurus, Saritha and Christine for their advice.

My phone did not want to send a picture text from inside the bowels of Target, so I had the bright idea to see if I could hop onto the wifi and send my query as a Facebook message.

I got on, and began typing each name and then selecting them from the auto-fill list to indicate the recipients of the message. Then I entered my query and photo:

“Seriously considering breaking out of my ‘black purse’ norm. The question now is: brown or grey?

(And no, the coral one in the back is not on contention).”

purse

I pressed “Send.”

And then I realized I’d autofilled Chris Slaten rather than Christine.

conversation one

An hour later, I got this response from Chris:

conversation twoIt really could have been so much worse.

 

Rethinking Scarcity: New Post at The High Calling

Slaten and Rogers

Two artists: Son of Laughter and Jonathan Rogers. Photo by Mark Geil.

I’ve got a new post up at The High Calling today. I was asked to write on the theme of “rethinking scarcity”—and to look at in the context of art. Immediately I thought of the ways the artists I know come together and support one another in their work, forming communities that not only advance the production of art, but also deepen its quality.

“The Industry” is not dead, but it is desperately trying to stay alive in most cases—often at the expense of good art. So those who want to create new art, quality art, honest and true art, are forced (and, I think, will increasingly be forced) to step outside the industries. Rather than seeing this as a setback, perhaps we should look at the situation as a gift—and a challenge:

From the post:
“I expect no one would disagree that creative innovation often arises from scarcity. From Ritz cracker apple pie to the dinners we developed with nothing but a microwave and hot pot during college, some creative spark in human nature thrives when put to the challenge of limited resources.

Likewise, in comparison to the booming creative industries of the 1990s, today’s musicians and authors—even some of those signed with major labels and publishers—are creating within the context of limited resources. While the leaders of the companies that produce and distribute much of our art are cautious about taking costly risks like launching a new artist, rapid developments in technology allow artists willing to take the risk themselves to bypass the industry and get their work into the hands of the audience. Adam Young of Owl City wrote in 2012: ‘Here at the outset of a new century everyone is back at the starting line fighting to be heard. It’s effortless to hear and steal new music so bands have to think of ways to reinvent themselves and turn the box inside out.’

So perhaps it is no surprise that there is a particular richness in some of the art being created today when economics and technology have joined together to topple the industries of yester-year.”

Read more at The High Calling.