This week, I’ve asked myself this question a few times: what are we waiting for? What is the ideal group of writers? What is the best digital writing space? Is there one? What is the best way to operate? What are the standards and are the standards working?
Back to the writing group. I joined this group that functions through Discord, a cross-platform for gamers. And it becomes the central hub for people to post and respond to work. This is not a commentary on the group, but on the amorphous way that people connect. It is clearly designed by young people and using a gaming platform. A lot of the work is a variety of fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction, but it is fascinating to see how the group interacts using #hashtags and emojis. How they work and how they function is a fascinating glimpse into the future of community, connection, and online writing space. In fact, a lot of the writing is on cloud based platforms, and this spaces directs writers and commentators to the pages that are scattered around the cyber world. It begs the question — is this what we want? Is this what we are waiting for?
This same week, I’ve been thinking about Brian Clements and his Every Atom: Reflections on Walt Whitman at 200. This project reaches out to “200 poets, writers, artists, critics, scholars, songwriters, leaders, journalists, public figures, and citizens. Each of the respondents will select a word, a line, a passage from that opening section of the 1855 Leaves of Grass that later, Whitman would entitle “Song of Myself,” and each will offer a brief annotation.” This project is not only a visionary use of poetry, literary review, and creativity – but it is also a new vision of poetic creativity and connection. When someone read an entry on Facebook mentioned that this should be a book that is collected, Clements mentioned that it already is a collection accumulating and shaping the vision of this American poetry bringing into the digital consciousness of the poets and visionary of contemporary poetry. It is clear that this innovative and visionary project captures some of the complexities that makes America a constant revision. “If ‘The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem,” as Whitman asserts early in his Preface to the 1855 Leaves of Grass, then the greatest poem is both a dirty mess and a surviving promise for the possibility of renewal, justice, and reconciliation. Contributors are vast and have a stunning effect of accumulation over the course of this fascinating project.
The last writing community that I’ve been working on for some time is Yapnet.org, a community that is closed, but very much an open space for creativity and vision. It is hailed as “a unique space, a vibrant hive of responsiveness that operates on the theory of reciprocity and empathy — to get feedback, give feedback; if you get feedback, say thanks. It is a private space, meaning that only members who are logged on can see your work. We believe that this privacy releases you from worry about your digital reputation or identity.” This is a place where we find visual, musical, poetic, and creative storytellers bring about vibrant, rich vision of art. But it can be more playful as members launch quick writing prompts, jump-in style projects, and elaborate and creative connections between creative visions and digital environments. Many of the members are visionary creatives from other digital connective places. And it is here that people are welcome to come and join to continue the vision. Joining is easy, and with your membership comes the vision reciprocity. When I joined, I felt like I was privileged to be among innovative creative people. But now, it needs to expand and grow. It more mass and more connectivity. Not because it is failing, but because it needs to keep rolling as people weave in and out of the community. It is not clear where the edges are in this community, but there is always room for more. Check it out and join if you have the time and will to give what you create.
What are we waiting for as creative people? What are we looking for that is better than what here and what is happening? Connecting with creativity is still about creating connection with amazing poets, writers, artists, and visionaries. But while I am still bitter that G+ failed – writing and creating in this digital world can be inspiring, motivating, and connective. Jump in and see what innovations are already waiting for you in the creative and connective world. What are we waiting for?