As promised, I attended Bryan Mark Taylor‘s fireside last night and, as expected, it was great. I’m not sure quite what I expected, but I was especially pleased with his evangelism.Bryan’s goal was not merely to talk about the role of art in Zion (something we all love to talk about), who is doing good work today (something we all love to argue about), or what someone else somewhere else should be producing (something we all do even though it drives us nuts when others do too)—no, his primary goals was to tell those YSAs that they can be the generation that makes Zion happen. Artwise.
I don’t want to say too much about his actual presentation because it was, in some ways, a rough draft. I’ve given him my notes and suggestions, and he intends to polish and tune and better as he redelivers his message again and again in as many places as are interested. I hope those places are many because we need to recruit our artists and let them know we have room for them within the household of faith. Make it so. Send him a missive.
Although I loved the brilliant marshaling of experts (John Adams made a surprise appearance), what I think it most vital of Bryan’s message and what most needs to be spread far and wide is the What Can I Do? portion of his presentation.
He offers six suggestions which I present now with commentary.
Cultivate Taste and Refinement
Can I get a huzzah for education?
But Bryan is specifically interested in us rejecting relativism and being willing to see some work as good and some work as bad. Take a stand and recognize the beautiful when it is before you.
Take the Leap of Faith
Bryan argues that the real barrier to entry is not making a living, but spending the 10,000 hours necessary to become truly good. That’s what’s stopping us from being great. We don’t take the time to become great. Talent doesn’t matter as much as sicktoitiveness. So stick to it.
Specifically Bryan wants us to call out naked emperors when you see them hung on a wall at the MoMA. I would say it should also mean that when you read Death of a Disco Dancer you then force other people to read it too.
Collaborate and Support
We must work together. This can be online (witness what’s happened with Everyday Mormon Writer‘s contests or the work LDStorymakers does) or offline (consider what EMW’s James Goldberg is proposing or the LDStorymakers conference). But my above examples both come from outside. Make your own local group. I belong to two local groups only one and a half of which I started. So start finding people. Make it happen. Grow the community.
Be in the Know
Read AMV, yo.
With your dollars. Buy what you want to flourish.
I could say more. I could talk about Bryan’s formula for sublimity or how he views the relationship between beauty and consolation or his theological grounding (hint: “Creator”), but if you remember one thing from this post, remember one of those What Can I Do?s.
And then do it.