Blessed are the Meek

artist paint-2985569_640 courtesy of pixabayCompared to other types of people, I guess you could consider artists to be meek, in many cases. Of course, there are artists from all walks of life – some are serial killers, too – but for the most part, I think it’s fair to say that creative people tend to be gentle.

Of course, people who are gentle – and different – are easy targets for bullies. So, writers, painters, dancers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians – anyone who is creative – are often ostracized and ridiculed because they’re special or have a passion. I won’t go into the list of insults I’ve been called, but I will mention that we’ve probably been referred to as “emos” (overly sensitive, emotional, and full of angst – per Dictionary.com) at least once in our lifetime, or told that the arts are not necessary and sometimes, even useless.

So I find it incredibly curious that during this very difficult time – with coronavirus, and murder hornets, and civil unrest – that us “emos” are the ones holding it together. We’re the ones trying to keep our fellow humans entertained. We’re the ones offering encouragement and pep talks. We’re the ones who, in many cases, have been offering up our art for free to try to help those who are having a hard time coping with the stresses of daily life.

According to an article on WEForum.org, “Artists are finding creative ways to keep people connected during a pandemic that keeps us apart.”

And that’s absolutely true.

Musicians, both famous and unknown, are offering live concerts for free from their living rooms on social media. Authors are making their books free so people have something to read while shut in. Dancers are filming their home performances and posting them for people to enjoy. Many artists have written and performed music parody videos to cheer people up.  Actors and filmmakers are finding creative ways to make short works and share them. Basketmakers, blacksmiths, and more have posted online tutorials showing people how to make wares. And they’re all doing this for free. All this in a time when other people are losing their shi… I mean, minds.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had people hang up on me, unfriend me on Facebook, yell at me – for reasons I still don’t understand, and get angry at me when I returned something they insisted I borrow – but I apparently had for too long … Wut? People’s nerves are raw. They are not equipped to handle this type of environment. But then, why is it that artists can… and not only do, but actually rise above and become the glue holding everything together?

There are a lot of theories on this. One artist told me that he deals with ongoing depression and has already imagined every worst-case scenario possible, so this isn’t actually that bad to him. Others prefer the isolation brought on by stay-at-home orders and are flourishing with this free time. While other people are bored out of their minds being forced to stay home, creative people are seeing this as an opportunity to make art. And some creative people, especially writers – are escaping into the worlds they created to help them cope with what’s going on around us, which is a tactic nowhere new to them.

I would love to see a study on why creatives are so resilient during this unprecedented time.

In an article from April this year, Architectural Digest quotes a meme: “As you binge watch your thirteenth entire series or read a book or sleep to music, remember. Remember that in the darkest days when everything stopped, you turned to artists.”

Keep doing what you’re doing, artists. My hat’s off to you all. Rock on.

Technical Issues

Hey All,

WordPress made a major update last night, and now the admin end of the website here doesn’t work. We’ve got calls into Tech Support, but….

In any case, hang in there, we’re working on it.

– The Frazzled Management

(We’d add a funny photo of a stressed out person here, but sadly, we can’t…)

Writing to Cope or Whatever Works

IU Exec Director KS Brooks eats too much whipped cream
Whipped cream is delicious.

I hope each and every one of you is home safe, and that you and your families are healthy.

This is a troubling time, with the future uncertain. Many have lost their jobs, and most of those who haven’t are now working from home. Many of them have their children home as well. None of these scenarios are exactly the greatest ambiance for writing.

Yet writing (and eating lots of chocolate or whipped cream) is a great coping mechanism. Even simply jotting down what you saw and felt in an attempt to document the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 can provide some relief, and it won’t make you fat.

As the notes come out, it’s not a far reach to imagine using them in a post-apocalyptic novel or a science fiction book. Of course, you could just use them in an actual memoir. Or, you could not use them at all, or file them in a drawer. Then, there are some of us who use humor to cope – and will end up writing a spoof or comedy. Maybe you just want to have something documented to share with your grandchildren. None of these ways is wrong. Whatever helps you cope is the right thing to do.

Those of you who have been working on projects may feel a little lost and unable to focus. That’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. These are times the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Feeling a little funky is to be expected. I’ve had a huge list of things to get done forever and now I’m at a loss for what those are. If looking at memes on Facebook was on the list, I’d be an overachiever. In any case, give yourself time to deal with things.

I think a lot of people feel helpless right now, but the reality of it is – staying home is doing something. It’s pulling dominoes out of the line and hopefully preventing something even more catastrophic.

An activity that might help could be playing a writing game with your kids. Ask them to write down how they feel about being home right now. Maybe you want to ask them to write what they would be doing if they could do anything. They could also write about what worries them. This will give you insight into what they’re going through and be an easy way to open up discussion and help them overcome their fears. Just don’t forget to write your own assignment at the same time. If they’re too young to write, have them draw.

Many authors are making their books free so people (and kids!) can have something to read to pass the time. Reading is such a great escape. Smashwords is having a big sale right now and many of those books are free.

If it moves you, take advantage of those free books. Take advantage of the new time you may have. Read, write – do what helps you find your balance. If it’s neither, that’s fine, too. Find something that works for you, and don’t feel guilty about it!

Keep safe and healthy. Whatever the “new normal” ends up being, we’ll get there together.

All the best from me and the IU staff,

Kat

Thankful Today and Every Day

thank-you-515514_640This Thanksgiving, we here at Indies Unlimited have a whole lot to be grateful for.

On October 31 of this year, we created a GoFundMe to help cover our web hosting expenses. Within five days, we exceeded the goal of that fundraiser. That’s not something I ever expected, and it is deeply moving that our community values us so highly. Thank you so very, very much.

We appreciate each and every one of you, and are very grateful that you appreciate us. I’d like to give a special shout-out to the minions for their continued support over the years, too. I’m grateful for their generosity. We wouldn’t be “we” without them.

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Thanksgiving, and a holiday season full of love and happiness. Thank you again for being a part of the Indies Unlimited family.

thanksgiving-1060214_640