At Elsewhere, I am moving in a space with other artists, existing outside the 9 to 5, and I get to watch other artists’ daily practices. It is inspiring and comforting to cohabitate with people tuned in to their gifts and themselves.
Look! There are these beings who move in ways I want to move! Look! There are these individuals who prioritize in ways similar to how I prioritize!
This February, I was so very held and nourished by Elsewhere. And Paonia. The kind of connectivity, individual caring, and networks of support shared with me here are unique and powerful. I directly experienced solidarity through work peptalks with my fellow Elsewherians, working side-by-side with other artists, being linked up to supportive individuals in town, folks being hospitable and inviting me to things and making me roasted chicken, Karen being Karen, folks attending our events, people being curious and asking questions. So many direct forms of solidarity.
I also experienced solidarity through shared understandings, most of which went unsaid. I’d like to take a moment to list some. This kind of subtle solidarity was also demonstrated in our communal culture of creating at Elsewhere, and these forms of communal agreement can be quite rare:
- the belief/knowledge that one month is a short amount of time
- the belief/knowledge that visiting a place for a project for 1 or 2 months is a reasonable thing to do (i.e. there is no rush, no need to live a project in chunks of 1-2 weeks to “get back” to my “real life”)
- the idea that you can live the life you want to live by waking up and making things with your hands, like a basket that’s becoming a nest
- the potentiality that the life I want to live can be segmented and timed and marked by how long it takes to make a felted cocoon, or write the chorus of a song, or edit together a 4 minute video
- the idea that a perfectly reasonable thing to do with your day is go to strangers’ homes, talk with them and learn about their lives, and make things based on what you learn
- the potentiality that life can be lived without a permanent apartment, for months on end, and instead following the craft that comes out of you
- the belief/knowledge that following the craft that comes out of you is exactly what you should be doing, and this can mean a happy life of building your schedule several months ahead of time, or only one month ahead of time, in order to seize surprise opportunities to offer your craft
- a commitment to: let’s just live near each other, make our own projects, think each other’s arts are fascinating, and make each other tea and live communally, with days that overlap and parallel closely
- the idea that it is possible to live somewhere where most folks go to the same activities, and that in some ways you can live into a community without extraordinary effort spent in creating one
- the belief/knowledge that it is possible to live in a community where folks hangout for lots of fun reasons, not just for consuming food and drink (although those are delicious and wonderful too)