Friends, family, and fellow-travelers, welcome to the May issue of Synchronized Chaos! Happy Mother’s Day, Feliz Cinco de Mayo, and congratulations to all the students on the semester system graduating this month.
As a gentle reminder, a whole bunch of us contributors, Creative Facilitators, and outside writers, scholars, business people and industry experts have been brainstorming ideas, values, and business/publicity models for this magazine to help us succeed as a publication and provide a service to the community as a whole while furthering the goals of each contributor. Everyone’s welcome to share thoughts and give their input into these conversations…please go ahead and leave a comment to this post or in the ‘About’ section if you would like.
What we’ve come up with so far is that Synchronized Chaos is a joint publicity and social marketing effort that runs on honor and mutual respect. People submit work and get published, and then come back to see how their work related to the other artists’ pieces and the monthly theme. They then get to see everyone else’s work and get to know the other artists and writers.
After awhile the exposure and networking helps contributors land jobs/gigs/agents/publishers etc. We here love to let professionals and everyone know about Synchronized Chaos and all of our contributors, and take plenty of opportunities to talk up everyone’s efforts.
Once someone we have featured comes across a new career opportunity as a result of our group networking, we definitely encourage them to drop the names of a few other artists featured in Synchronized Chaos to spread the word and network on behalf of each other. And, if you come across something not directly relevant to your own work but which might be great for someone else, please do take the time to email the other contributors directly or just email the magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can pass on the word for you. For example, if you write free verse poetry but happen to know a gallery owner taking prints for a landscape or abstract exhibition, please pass the word on to our visual artists! This will maximize the flow of opportunities and help make participating in this magazine effort worthwhile for the artists and writers who take the time to send digital images, get interviewed, create pieces, etc.
Now for our monthly theme – Finding Your Place in the Universe. This month brought in a wide variety of submissions in many different formats. For the first time we have a graphic artist, a poet, musicians, short story writers, and a filmmaker all in the same issue. One thread common to many of the work was the desire to be heard and acknowledged, and the right to live as one chooses without unnecessary interference. There was also a sense that the world is a large place, with room enough for everyone if we are mindful of each other.
A home, physical or metaphorical in terms of membership in a group, can serve as the proverbial first random stroke across the canvas which gets the painter started. One begins to build a life in response to one’s surroundings, making the most of whatever opportunities present themselves, working within the constraints of whatever it takes to survive in that or another environment. We see this process among the community of people influenced by Berkeley ‘street survivor’ Yume in Claire Burch’s film, where he and others take part in a subculture which aims to be supportive of all living beings even while facing challenges to personal dignity in their own lives.
Not every subculture fosters respect for all life; some groups of outsiders build identity or attempt to defend themselves against injustice or discrimination by turning against others. A group may become exploitive while being exploited itself, which performance poet and essayist Dee Allen comments on in his selections. He writes of minorities victimized by a fear-driven, media-driven culture within the general society…yet also critiques trends within minority subcultures which lead to replicating the same kind of fearful over-generalization and isolation. One can and sometimes must stand up and speak out to demand one’s rightful place in the world – but with awareness of the larger context of one’s actions and of other groups of people seeking acceptance.
As we have seen, finding or maintaining one’s place can involve many levels of struggle. Maryann Lerch and Ned Mock’s short story “Chance Meeting” highlights the power of one or a few quick choices to throw someone out of a carefully constructed home/place/lifestyle. This proves true for people across the socioeconomic spectrum, and it can take another lengthy process to rebuild what was lost, if that is even possible. We have some freedom – but also the blessing and curse of responsibility for our actions, in a very real as well as existential sense. Also, our homes/places/identities can be fragile and uncertain…the potential downside to having the ability to change one’s situation.
Where, and how, can we find a sense of belonging and community without creating a structure which isolates people into competing subgroups or traps them in situations they wish to change? Claire Burch’s film presents a relatively open, yet cohesive group of acquaintances…and the bandmembers of Alma Desnuda touch on this question when they explore the spontaneous community formed among a diverse crowd at a rock show. People can respect each other while working or having fun together in the moment, without the pressure to change each other or do everything the same way. Perhaps spontaneous communities can be a starting point for longer-lasting associations? Also, the development of any band involves finding its own sound, something unique while acknowledging its influences. Alma Desnuda has found its own place in the musical world with a nod to the music of the sixties and seventies and the San Francisco culture.
Finally, some of our works celebrate and highlight the concepts of home/place and belonging through non-literal artistic expression. Nigerian writer and engineer Emmanuel Nwodo acknowledges that God has created all living beings, and thus welcomes and has a place for each one. Finding one’s place, and allowing others to take their places, can begin with acknowledging through philosophy or faith that we can all belong here. Since there is a place for everyone – it could theoretically be possible for you to find your own place. California graphic designer and writer Kristie also celebrates finding a home through art centered on nesting as a metaphor…creating a home by creating a space to help others find their places in the world.
Very impressed by the diversity of submissions and by the ideas explored – thank you to everyone who has followed the Synchronized Chaos journey!