It’s a tough time in the world and I’ve been pondering what, if anything, to say, wondering if the world needed yet another voice yapping on about justice and mercy. And what would I say, anyway…that I’m for it? Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

What I do believe is that each of us is given a function in this world, each one unique and necessary. Mine, for now, is writing, and I do believe that the pen is mightier than the sword and that it is the responsibility of writers to speak truth to power. Well, it’s the responsibility of all of us, isn’t it? Writers simply do it on the page.

In the post-election period, for me, it’s been difficult to find something to work on, something that is politically relevant and timely. It seems to me as though we in the west are now entering a period that calls for resistance and persistence, something the artists who lived and who continue to live under repressive regimes the world over have known for a long time.

Perhaps it all needs a little more time to compost. Things are moving fast, and may very well be far different in six months or a year than they are now. However, the values we are being asked to consider and to uphold are universal: Truth, Kindness, Mercy, Justice, Humility, Courage, Commitment, Tolerance… I don’t need to tell you.

So why am I writing this down at all? For this reason… I urge you, all of you writers and dancers and playwrights and sculptures and painters and film makers… even if you don’t yet know what work will ultimately come out of this dark time of racism, misogyny, hate-speech and ‘alternative facts’, please keep going. We need you more than ever. Be bold. Be brave. Inspire us all, and let us know we’re not alone in a world gone bonkers.

A couple of books to consider, with Welsh reading dragon.

And you readers, as well… the act of buying books can be subversive and political. Buy books by non-Americans, books by women and Muslims and Hindus, by black and brown and red and yellow people; for unless you buy these books, publishers won’t publish them. But maybe you don’t know where to begin – well, how about we start with books by Muslims?  Consider, perhaps either AN UNNECESSARY WOMAN by Rabih Almeddine or THE MOOR’S ACCOUNT by Laila Lalami.

Music, as well – perhaps you’d like Anouar Brahem or Maher Zain  or Yuna !

Of course, we must demonstrate and make phone calls and write letters, but let’s also make the work we do and the choices we make part of this new experience and part of the resistance.

I’d love to hear what you’re working on, what you’re reading, what you’re listening to. I’d love to be inspired by your responses. Lists of books, music, art exhibitions, plays… send ‘em all, and let’s pass them around on social media as well.

Thanks for reading, and for being here.

12 Comments

  1. Arianna Drake on February 9, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Yes! Thanks Lauren B. Davis for this timely blog. I think it’s important for all of us to know we can play a part, and supporting artists is something I’ll gladly do even more.
    As you wisely shared “the values we are being asked to consider and to uphold are universal: Truth, Kindness, Mercy, Justice, Humility, Courage, Commitment, Tolerance… ”
    Resistancely yours, Arianna

    • Lauren B. Davis on February 10, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Thanks very much for your comment, Arianna. I love “Resistancely yours”!

  2. Susan Charity Rosenthal on February 10, 2017 at 1:38 am

    I am working on publishing an original educational program I developed over a 28 year period that empowers dyslexic, English as a Second Language, and high end autistic students to experience school success. It has proven itself in that 100s of failing students were able to find success, and now I am trying to make it available to teachers by publishing it on the web. However, it is a huge program with 2 levels of difficulty: one for younger students and one for older students. I taught for 40 years and became interested in smart students whom couldn’t learn along the way. I also just had my 70th birthday, so all I have time to do to be involved in politics is Facebook posts. However, I did march more than once for Bernie with a good friend of mine. I applaud your post and hope you get many responses.

    • Lauren B. Davis on February 10, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Susan, thanks for your comment. There’s so much to thank you for — that wonderful education program, which sounds amazing, your teaching career (Yay teachers!), your 70th birthday and your political enthusiasm. It seems to me you’re involved in the world and helping others, which is exactly what we’re called to do. You keep going! What are reading? Any books you recommend?

  3. Susan on February 10, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I’m working on a play, duh, but I’m not sure what it is yet. I have 4 characters who have been rattling around my head for ages but they won’t tell me what they want! But I will keep working until I can get out the way and let them be. I’m also trying to get to more theatre, support the work. We need each other’s stories now more than ever.

    Light and love.

    • Lauren B. Davis on February 10, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Ick, that’s a tough place in the process, isn’t it? When I get there I go back to the old ‘why is this day unlike any other?’ Take these ordinary people, who seem to have what they want, have them climb a tree and then start throwing rocks at them. That often works! Keep going. What are you reading? Anything wonderfully subversive?

      • susan on February 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm

        Thanks for that, I’ll give it a try.
        I’m reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. So yes subversive and funny.

  4. Bob Young on February 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I’m working on painting series titled “Tree Silhouettes”; each painting is a mixture of landscape and hard-edge abstraction. I’m striving for something “spiritual” in the mixture of nature and simple coloured rectangles: in the viewer, I want to engender contemplation of nature and the musical properties of colour, transparency-opacity, and texture. (I’ve written a blog post about this, “Between a Rock and a Hard Edge”: https://www.bobyoungart.ca/single-post/2016/12/10/landscape-meets-hard-edge) Not very political. But *isn’t* there something radical in suggesting there’s something as good — or better — to do with one’s time than scroll the latest social-media feed or make more money?

    • Lauren B. Davis on February 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Bob, thanks so much for the comment, and for sharing your work. I’m impressed by it. I have a friend, Paul Nodwell, a landscape architect and painter. You might want to look him up on Facebook. I think you two have similar artistic sensibilities. I find your work intriguing, as the rectangles provide a sort of framing for particular parts of the image, drawing the eye in a deliberate way. Keep going! And I agree with you that creating art — particularly of a spiritual nature, and involving the natural world — is a radical act indeed. There’s a BBC documentary you might enjoy — Forest, Field And Sky: Art Out Of Nature — you can find it on Youtube. Thanks again, Bob.

  5. Ron Davis on February 12, 2017 at 8:16 am

    hi Lauren, loved your post. You’ve so well expressed what many of us feel, artists & non-artists.
    I read the comments and clicked on Bob Young’s site, as highlighted in his above comments. How interesting his vision is for his work. I appreciated the way he explained his fascination with the Group of Seven, as well as Josef Albers. Tree Silhouettes is a beautiful work, he’s definitely onto something special!
    This is just another example of how you’re helping bring different parts of our global community together. Ron

    • Lauren B. Davis on February 12, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Thanks, Ron. I’ll bet Bob would be interested in your wonderful work as well…. rondavis.ca

  6. Ron Davis on February 12, 2017 at 8:16 am

    hi Lauren, loved your post. You’ve so well expressed what many of us feel, artists & non-artists.
    I read the comments and clicked on Bob Young’s site, as highlighted in his above comments. How interesting his vision is for his work. I appreciated the way he explained his fascination with the Group of Seven, as well as Josef Albers. Tree Silhouettes is a beautiful work, he’s definitely onto something special!
    This is just another example of how you’re helping bring different parts of our global community together. Ron

Leave a Comment