2019, by all accounts, was my darkest year. Death if a family member trumps any previous dark spell. Out of the ashes of a ruinous year, much artistic evolution and production arose - not without much pain and sacrifice, without unraveling much of who I have been for a vision of a different me.
I'd be lying if I suggested either identities are at a stable, understood place right now. Still searching for the answers to the questions of what's next, and who am I next. Once the answers fell like clear, pure rain; now, obscurious fog fills the air.
This is not an unfamiliar place, but I am not a familiar person. To myself, or many who claim to have known me. The reality is that few have known the person behind the metaphors, horrific visages and recent accomplishments and successes.
Friends stay close through highs and lows; acquaintances check in as the hour allows.
That has also been my biggest disappointment of 2019:
as my truths have come forward, my friends who disagree with my messages and positions have stepped backwards, some have receded completely out of my life.
I've greatly sacrificed the harmony of my audience by confronting global problems, nationalism, racism, bigotry and other flaws that are frequent in our fabric of civilization. As a Humanist, my art has always stood for activism; that few knew about my motivations and passions reflects the fact that many were too caught up with my flash to comprehend what they were appreciating.
And so it goes: I look at 2020 with a healthy content calendar, growth goals and an Seretic Studios Patreon to blow up, but I feel broken. The compass is haywire and the wheels of this vehicle have lost traction. Directional alignment as the polar opposite to current lies and liars has put me in a frustrating position of constantly fighting with my audience for positions that should be common sense.
Fuck it all. Truth: 2020 isn't about me, my goals nor the Art of Artemis Sere. The world needs a different voice in the coming year, one less focused on ego, self-promotion and greed.
2020 is about
- finding ways to connect, not convert;
- building bridges, not destruction;
- empowering harmony and civility, not pushing for civil war, as some in my crowd and the media have discussed over the last year.
I am 100% anti-Trump, have been against the man since the 80s. If you know me, this is no secret. My disdain may seem partisan, but it stretches back farther than recent politics. He was made possible by a stark reality: the underlying current of pure human wisdom (common sense, common decency, common good) is broken, so his loud lies and offensive bullshit win the debate with those who are likewise broken. While I certainly sound "leftist" when it comes to the Trump debate, probably sound righteous to some, I am a Globalist and a Humanist and want to see the best, fair shake for any human, regardless of genealogy, status, caste, community or side of the aisle.
I am the antithesis of Donald Trump, whether I (and you) like it or not.
I had previously targeted 2020 to be my #yearofSerenity. The goal was to highlight my new work "Echoprism" and my Serenity Gallery -- with a share from my work every day of 2020. Instead, I'm going to shift to a content calendar that doesn't focus on me, but focuses on a return to harmony, caring and compassion.
Enter: the #yearofCivility.
I spent some of my "holiday time" this year going through old boxes and trying to minimize my life and footprint even further. While doing so, I came across a box of books that I had stashed away. In this trove of dusty pages and educational artifacts, I found a book that I'd tossed aside as therapeutic fluff: John Sweeney's "Return to Civility", a book published in 2007 by a Twin Cities publisher and Brave New Workshop comedy outfit.
For some reason, the book survived the shifting sands of my life and found it's way to the top of the heap, with relevance as a gem of clarity in this tortured, divided time. The book provides 365 tangible recommendations of how to engage in behaviors that lead to a more civilized balance with this civilization. This endeavor seems more useful, valuable and important right now than Sere and Seretic Studios content.
The Divided States of America will need a constant reminder of what it means to have a civil discourse and equilibrium in 2020, the year we fight to oust Trump and bring back integrity, honesty and trust to our civilized tribe. Yes, these words are distinctly partisan, but also purposeful. The United States has a leader that lacks civility, and has sewn the seeds of civil, social and personal division in once-promising soil.
2019 may have been my darkest year, but I see charcoal clouds and firewind on the horizon. In 2020, I will try to plant seeds of civility, rather than rage and civil war.
Please join me in helping America return to civility by engaging with the #yearofcivility. More info coming soon.
civility[ si-vil-i-tee ]
noun, plural ci·vil·i·ties.
1. courtesy; politeness.
2. a polite action or expression:
3. Archaic. civilization; culture; good breeding.