The Irony isn't Lost on Me


Welcome everyone just finding me because of Paraclete Press' promotional week for Drawn In(if you don't know you can get books for $7 the rest of this week)! So many friends and family have helped me get the word out, I'm overwhelmed. It's no small thing to ask people to share their social media clout. This got me thinking about that thin line between being driven and drawn that creatives and pastors share.

Often our very passion about getting to an audience can can cut them off from the thrust of the art we make for them. When people aren't given the freedom to opt out the artist is taking something importaint from their audience- agency. Without agency, consumers of art are simply used to propulgate our art. When this continues they become more and more dependent on "expert" or "attractive" producers. They become less able to see and hear between the line, less literate.

Here's a bit from the 9th chapter in Drawn In:

While propaganda and marketing employ the skills of artistic process they do not include others outside of their goals in that process. Not only that, but when propaganda and marketing complete their tasks the holders of the art rarely trust the process enough to take their own risks. In fact, consumers of propaganda and marketing become even further dependent upon the producers of those artifacts and less and less capable of making life for themselves. Urban organizer and poet Ross Talarico calls this “de-literacy.” It is the outcome of systematically taking the agency away from a citizen by co-opting or replacing all their language and symbols for external purposes (page 144 Drawn In)

So the irony is not lost on me that this week's $7 promotion is clearly about marketing, and falls under this type of critique. I've spent the last week emailing, calling, messaging friends and writing collegues asking them to share about Drawn In. While I tried to leave open spaces for folks to opt out, I am not deluded into thinking that this is purely for art or community sake.

My new friend Byron at Hearts and Minds Books called me out on this. He wrote a kind review of Drawn In in the winter and when I asked him to promote this sale he repied graciously back that my request was a little insulting. Here he is a book seller, who buys from publishers and yet my promotion was cutting him out entirely. In my own efforts to promote my art I had forgotten his trade and his identity. Thanks, Byron, for that reminder about the importaince of community.

But marketing can do more than cut out income streams. It can eventualy seperate the consumer from the product to the point that people do not realize their own role in making products—their agency. This is what I hope to point out in the post here. Byron is making great things, and it's my hope to do the same. So long as we all work towards increased trust and interdependence (re-integration) then we can accomplish much more together. It not simple. But the complexity is a beauty all of its own.

If you're new to my blog or just coming back around because I'm finally posting again, welcome. I look forward to the conversation and community that we could form!

Oh yeah, and pick up a copy of the book.