The New Southerner knows that art is antidote, resistance against destruction: the death of the planet, the corrosion of the human spirit, the mistreatment of animals. When we create—when we make words & images & crafts & tools & music & food—we are giving people something to consume besides material goods. We are giving our art so as to empower our fellow humans to create beauty for themselves, instead of succumbing to the notion that we are not enough, that we need to buy gadgets & potions & appliances & adornments if we wish to be loved.
The New Southerner has wizened from the ways of the Old Southerner. We borrow substance, simplicity, & technique from her, but we do not get lost in her past. We remember that we must innovate, not stagnate.
We remember. We dive into the wreck and pull our friends into the present with us. We imagine, with wild abandon, a future lush with healthy plant & animal life, rich with culture & ideas. We learn from the past, and we paint the future, all so we can find the ephemeral present. Our art becomes the glittering artifact of the time we were truly alive. When we were embodied. When we were one.
We dream of a South that is at once peaceful & electric. We dream of a South that breathes in cities & counties & countries across the globe, that spreads rebellion & togetherness without boundaries. We dream, but not without discomfort. We pop discomfort like a lozenge until it melts under our tongues.
We speak in words as hard as cannonballs.
So, wherever you are, whoever you are: send me your fictions, your poems, & your realities that sing of presence.
There’s a New Southerner in town.