Posts Tagged With: creativity

art is not created in a vacuum

I’ve always been open about my love for all things Joss Whedon, though I’ve never been clear that I love the art more than the creator.
Over the years we’ve learned that Joss is notoriously difficult to work with. He is obstinate and demanding. Obsessive and overbearing.
Kai Cole, who was married to Joss for nearly twenty years wrote that he is a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals

Last week Charisma Carpenter took to her social media to discuss her experience as a member of the Buffyverse.
(this is the post from her Instagram account)

She stated she felt compelled to share her story after Ray Fisher discussed his experience with Joss on the set of Justice League.
Since Charisma’s post, actors, writers, and producers from Whedon lead vehicles are speaking out in support.
I’m seeing words like:
Unprofessional.
Hostile.
Cruel.
Abusive.
Toxic.

Jose Molina who worked as a writer on Firefly said Joss bragged about making female writers cry. That he thought being mean was funny.
Michelle Trachtenberg stated Joss wasn’t allowed to be alone with her on the set of Buffy. She didn’t go into any further details, but know that she was fifteen years old when she started on that show in 2000.

So it seems to me it isn’t just that Joss Whedon is difficult to work with, he’s a shit human.
That doesn’t mean I don’t love his art any less.
Buffy and Angel. Dollhouse and Firefly. The Avengers (not created by, but brought to life in the MCU as director)
These are truly some of my favorite characters. Some of my favorite stories.

Once again I find myself wondering if a shit human and their art can be separated?

I say once again because I asked this question in 2017 when Kevin Spacey became persona non grata when all his horrible deeds came to light. Not only was he accused of sexual misconduct, but also creating toxic work environments.
His behavior is abhorrent.
He’s also a pretty shit human.
But his talent though. The art he created is beautiful.

I’m not the only one thinking about this. I read quite a bit about separating art from the artist when I set out to write this post.
I read articles the New York Times to the Guardian. From the BBC to reddit.
Here are a couple I especially liked.
For WBUR Boston’s the ARTery, Maria Garcia wrote: “Art does not exist in its own altruistic, alternate universe. It’s part of the world — and the patriarchy.”
Constance Grady wrote this tagline for her Vox article: “I don’t know what to do with good art by predatory artists. So I asked some literary critics.”

Nora texted me “Joss Whedon is gross” early Friday morning.
I shared with her I was trying to write this post. I mentioned Spacey. I asked: Can you separate individuals from their art/talent?
She sent this reply

She’s right, y’all. How much of what we’ve read or seen or heard was created by shit humans?
Does knowing something was created by a shit human change our opinion?
Should it?
Should it not?

We are all human. We are all flawed.
But I truly believe we’d be worse off without art.

I can’t ignore the fact Buffy and Firefly were created by a shit human.
But it doesn’t make me love them any less.
I’m not sure how to feel about that.

Artists do not exist in a vacuum.
Art is not created in a vacuum.

Can the art and artist exist separately?
Can the art be appreciated for the art it is?
Can the art remain unsullied by the reputation of it’s creator?

Please share your thoughts.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

storytelling part four (classroom fun)

Friday’s heat advisories kept us indoors so we made our own fun. I got down off my soapbox and let the kids do what they wanted. After expanding our construction zone to somehow encompass the entire back half of the classroom they cleaned up and came together ready the write a story.
I encouraged the worst possible story in the history of all stories and they did not disappoint.

(email title)
total global destruction

Well…sort of.

Miss Robynbird told us how proud she was that we were able to make a story without any bloodshed, so much so that today she challenged us to make the most horrifically terrible story possible! We’re talking fire, flood, famine. We’re talking dragons, dinosaurs, witches and sharks. We’re talking destruction of TOTAL GLOBAL PROPORTION!

During the planning process we shouted out things like:
witches potions
dinosaurs
dragons
sharks
villagers
fire

KR-J asked to begin the story, and it went a little something like this:
Once upon a time there was a scary dinosaur and there was a villager. And the villager found the dinosaur.
AO:
And then there was another dinosaur. A dragon came and he blow fire on the grass where the dinosaur was. A witch came from where the villager was. She said, “NO DRAGONS BREATHING FIRE!”
VS:
Another witch found a villager’s house and saw a cloak and put it on then she went to the dragon and the dragon ate her and she “spelled” out of the dragon and found her body again.
RC:
Then another dragon came and the villager…he saw crocodiles…they are by the water…he was trying to be careful by the bridge, but fell in the pond and the crocodile is gonna eat him. Then the villager got out and runned away from the crocodile.
ZB:
Then what happened, there was a shark, and he was bad and ate some people and there were other people and they went on a bridge and the bridge broke and they fell in the water then what happened, was the dinosaur got the people and stomped on them and they was squished.
JH:
More people ran into the forest and into their house and the dragons blowed their house. Then they run into the bridge and they fell into the water and the shark get ’em.
EY:
The dragon and shark…the dragon saw a knight guard…he tried to fight the dragon and he fired the knight guard and eat him.
Miss Robynbird turned to TK: Bring us home.
TK grinned:
Then there was a bridge that was broken and the shark at the broken pieces and a dragon breathed fire on more people and then stepped on them and they were dead. And then he ate them.

Total global destruction was a SUCCESS!

(Teacher’s Note: YBW asked me if any of the parents found this inappropriate. I laughed. These parents absolutely LOVE this stuff. They think these stories are wonderful. I am blessed to have parents with senses of humor. They are blessed to have teachers who encourage creativity and critical thought.)

Categories: education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

honoring your commitment (to yourself)

Talked with Thing 2 for a long time yesterday. And while we talked of many things, one part of the conversation struck me and stuck with me. She mentioned she’d been thinking about writing again. I shared with her that I loved her writing and thought even though she wasn’t always comfortable with it, I think it’s very good. She said she was flattered.
I didn’t say it to flatter her. I said it because I believe it. She’s actually quite good.

I told her what I know about writing and about writers. They write every day. They make a commitment to write for a certain amount of time each day. Then they honor their commitment.

I told her I thought it would be so good for her. She’s living in the moment only. With no real vision of her future and not much reflection on her past. I think that’s got to be a hard way to live. I suggested committing herself to a writing schedule might help her break out of that moment to moment living.
The more we talked about it, the more I could hear her begin to really like the idea. She was hopeful that it would ignite some passion within her. (I call it the fire in her belly.) She was expressing her feelings of confusion about what path to take, how to move forward in her life. She is concerned that she has no passion. Like Alice, she used to be much more…muchier. She’s lost her muchness. She knows this and isn’t quite sure how to get back her muchness.

I wondered aloud if writing would stoke the fire in her belly, help her find her passion and remind her of her indefinable muchness…I could hear in her voice that she was really inspired by this.
I expressed that I would in no way “hold her accountable” but I would ask occasionally if she’d written simply out of excitement and curiosity. She liked the idea of that too.

I also shared with her that I was in the process of making such a commitment to myself. That I needed to write more…that I let too much time go between times I write.
I haven’t written since I was in Arizona! Partly because I came home and promptly got sick (So sick I didn’t do anything but lie on the couch and drink apple juice for four days straight.) but a visit to my doctor and a prescription for antibiotics and an inhaler finally sorted me. I’m feeling better enough physically that I’m ready to engage my mind.
So while I’ve suggested to my daughter that she make a commitment to herself, I too will commit to a set bit of time to write each day. It may or may not be in this blog, but I will honor myself and write. I too, am occasionally concerned about my muchness. That I’m so busy living the day to day moments that I’m missing something in me.
I remember something my friend and mentor once said about your first year of teaching, she said it’s “survival year”. I believe that’s true of your first year of anything. The first year of me being here not only held normal adjustments to the spectacular life changes. It was a year in which my beloved child told me she didn’t want me to be her mommy anymore. It was a year in which my dad unexpectedly died. It was a year in which my child and I found our way back to each other. She came to live with us here and left again in a six week period. It was a year in which I changed classrooms in a school where I’ve never felt I completely belong. And (This is the bestest bit!) this was a year in which the man I’ve loved for the last five years put a ring on my finger and asked to call me his wife.
My muchness is all over the freaking place!

Thing 2 and I have traded some snapchats this afternoon. I send her a questioning face asking if she had decided to write today.
She did!
And now I am.
We’re each honoring our commitment to ourselves. I feel a bit as though we’re honoring a commitment to each other too. But that’s honestly not what it’s about, it’s about respecting the decision to do something for ourselves.

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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