So many people are impressed with this singer or that. Or this undiscovered talent or someone doing something amazing. Every day someone reaches the pinnacle of human emotion over a story, meme, song, dance, demonstration of love etc. They claim (or someone before them claims) that their mind is blown. Seriously? I sit and wonder if these people just don’t have much of a mind in the first place or if they just don’t think all that often, so it’s easy to blow it out. But anyway… I have a challenge for all of us.

A mere three generations or so ago each town had its famous home stars: athletes, artists, musicians,speakers, actors, comedians, writers, chefs, dancers… Then our culture started raising up crews of super stars which eventually eclipsed the homespun talents of “little people”. All too soon the local yokels were forgotten, unsung, untasted and untried.

The very concept of offering arts to my community in imaginarium: IOFA (my small local effort in the non-profit world of spreading the joy of arts) is that each of us has the seed of creativity and expression within us and that with just a nudge, a word of encouragement and a little coaching, we can all blossom into that special artist, musician, actor or whatever.

Everyone deserves a spot on the stage; a moment in the spot light. Age doesn’t matter. Background doesn’t matter. What you look like doesn’t matter.

But we are a home boundĀ  audience, comfortably ensconced in front of our TVs (or computers etc.). We would rather give money to someone we don’t know and to a company who endorses them and provides the product. We’d rather listen to a song that someone in a far off building decided was good enough to hear than to give the kid down the street a chance to show his stuff – from song and dance right down to the food we eat and the team(s) we cheer for.

If we shared meals with each other more often, fast food might lose its iron grip on our taste buds. If we cheered on our kids’ ball teams maybe there’d be fewer gangs. If we played on competing teams, maybe there’d be fewer health concerns. If we had community bands, theater groups, writers’ clubs, photo groups, cooking clubs, garden clubs, and all that stuff… maybe, just maybe we’d all care about each other more. Maybe there would be fewer suicides or drunken drivers.

Maybe we’d remember what it is to have “Community”. Maybe we’d have fewer homeless people and more laughter. Maybe the tennis courts would be teeming with activity. Maybe the baseball fields would be places for families to meet and cheer their family member on to victory. Maybe our churches would have more joy.

Maybe our kids could have abetter chance of dreaming real dreams with meaningful goals. Maybe ‘lost’ arts like cooking and sewing and embroidering, kitting, quilt making, design, songwriting, instrument building, craftsmanship etc. would have more respect,moreĀ  value, camaraderie and place in our culture. Maybe we’d have safer streets and happier homes.

We can sit back, shaking our heads bemoaning the changes or we can ask how we might be able to turn back the hands of time even if it’s in small increments. Microshifts leading us back toward a time when homes are filled with laughter, music, game playing, book reading, home cooking, sharing. When our neighborhoods are places of gathering and caring. Where we listen and really hear what the other person is saying.

This is what I dream of. This is my fantasy. And I am so much the fool, that I imagine that there is a chance,albeit a small chance, that this can happen.