The Necessity of Stories

 

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”  -Carl Sagan

We are a species rooted in stories. For generations farther back than anyone can recall, myths and stories have informed our view of the world and helped us understand ourselves. We live in a world where, increasingly, imagination is held to a lower standard. Stories are constructed not for the sake of describing our experiences, but to sell us things and distract our attention. We must seek to preserve imagination in ourselves and generations coming up behind us. The world needs storytellers. Our species depends on them.

Natasha Stagg writes for multiple publications, is in the process of writing her second novel, and appears in anthologies of essays. She also writes ad copy part time. Stagg discusses the present state of writing and the difficulties many writers come up against when it comes to making a living as a writer. She says these days writing, in particular in New York City, is largely content driven with a need to produce a large amount of “fluff pieces” in order to get by. Early on, Stagg was very aware of blogging which led her to the position she holds in the writing world today. When it comes to pay rates, Stagg recognizes that today’s low wages for writers do not live up to the amount of work that goes into the creation of high-quality articles and admits that many writers, herself included, hold day jobs.

Rama Burshtein is the first and only ultra-orthodox woman making films for a general audience. It was not until twenty years after attending film school that Burshtein began making films. Her intended audience, she says, are those outside her own community. She wants her films to help those outside the ultra-orthodox community to better understand their own prejudices. In her films, Burshtein offers an honest take on Jewish families and the differences that sometimes arise when it comes to how each member chooses to practice–or not practice at all. Burshtein’s characters portray universal emotions that audiences can identify with. “We all look for the same thing, we all lack love and we all want to have passion and beauty, and that’s it…if you know that then it’s only the scenery that changes,” she says.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket

Protect the privilege of imagination for it has carried us far and must be a mighty river flowing toward the future of our collective consciousness.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Natasha Stagg’s first novel is titled Surveys and is available via The MIT Press. User Kate Petley has been reading Hold Still by Sally Mann

Opportunities / Open Calls

Foundation for Contemporary Arts offers emergency grants to artists. Funds are not awarded for life circumstances (i.e. food, housing, medical, etc.) but rather for artists who are either presented with unexpected opportunities to present their work or face unforeseen budget difficulties as a project nears completion. For more details, visit the foundation’s website. Deadlines are ongoing.

 

Deadlines

Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.

More Resources – For Artists Only – (2 essays from last week)

Handling the Creative Process — Read more here

Websites 101 — Read more here

Popular Writings –

Non-profit spaces to know –

London, UK Non-Profit Spaces – read about some of the best.

Los Angeles, CA Non-Profit Spaces- read about some of the best.

New York City Non-Profit Spaces – read about some of the best.

Self Illumination –

Conquering Fear – read about methods and Pema Chodron.

The Trap of Self-Esteem and How to Break Free- read more here.

F*ck the Art World, F*ck Consumerism! – read more here.

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