Art Matters: Why I Joined Ruminate

by Guest Blogger October 20, 2015

Dear friends,

My name is Paula Weinman, and this summer, I moved from Upland, IN, to Ft. Collins, CO, to work as one of Ruminate’s interns. A few weeks ago after work, I decided to catch up on episodes of Krista Tippet’s On Being while I washed dishes. Something blogger Maria Popova said during her interview caught my attention. “There is so much goodness in the world,” she told Krista, “We simply have to show up for it and refuse to leave.”

These words immediately reminded me of the reason I volunteered with Ruminate this summer. Each issue asked me as a reader to spend time in the company of good work—to show up, to listen, and to refuse to leave. Every piece felt like a conscious push against my natural inclination to hurry things up, to move things along, and to crane my neck for whatever was coming around the bend.

As I worked on site, I was amazed by how well the magazine reflects the spirit of the staff and volunteers themselves. They attend to the work of each issue with patience and thought, reminding me of the word’s indirect relationship to the French word attendre (“to wait”). They search out questions without grasping for answers, willing to wait on resolution and to rest in places of uncertainty. Perhaps most importantly, they listen—to each other, to their readers, and to the quiet hum of truth in the good work they publish. This can be rare in our frantic world, but it is one of the ways we can (in the words of Wendell Berry) “practice resurrection.”

And in a time when artists can so often be undervalued— both culturally and financially—Ruminate makes a priority of paying its contributors, recognizing that to value art is to support its artists.

As poetry editor Kristin George Bagdanov put it, “I think the first step in figuring out how to amend conceptions of value in the arts sector begins with artists valuing their own work and the work of other artists. If we don’t even attempt to do that in a way that the larger economy recognizes (i.e., financially) then this unsustainable self-destructive cycle of the artist producing solely for the ‘love’ of the art will become less and less tenable, especially those who do not come from a privileged economic background.”

I love the way Kristin phrased this, because I think it touches on one of the great things about the Art Matters campaign: ultimately, it’s all about loving and supporting the people who bring all of us in the Ruminate community together. As the campaign continues, I hope you’ll consider joining us: it’s another chance to show up for something good.

Yours,
Paula Weinman

________

Share your support for Ruminate and the #ArtMatters Campaign here.


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