I have regularly joked that I am married to Jackson. I think it was the recollection of those oft-spoken vows “For richer or poorer, for better or worse, for sickness and in health” that first led me to make the claim, as the city has afforded me all of those scenarios and many more. And it’s true, I have given this town more lee-way in my life than I allow many things. After spending four years of college here, I left for two years. For one and a half of those years I could only think about coming back. Residing in Brookhaven at the moment, I don’t even technically live in Jackson, but am even now plotting my return.
I love Jackson for its people, mainly, who are some of the dearest, most interesting, and fun people that I have grown to know. I love it without reserve in spite of the sometimes overwhelming hatred, ignorance, and apathy it can exhibit. I have to face the fact that as much as I despise those traits, it is a part of the recipe that makes this city such an impassioned and unique place to be. The city is in my blood and I am, quite frankly, an addict.
So when Jess contacted me about starting something (and that’s all we knew it to be at that point, ‘something’, we truly had no idea what we were doing, and still don’t sometimes) with Jen, Casey and herself I jumped right in, pleased to find that there was a group of people with the same city pulsing through their veins that were ready to throw the dice purely on the energy and excitement that they each felt individually. These people wanted action and were willing to fling themselves off the cliff just to see what happened, with no apparent concern that they may not soar.
Three weeks, a couple of Mexican and pizza dinners, and two meetings at Flashback later, I can only look up and marvel that the strides that have been taken. We have never made a mission statement or defined a goal and right now I don’t even see the need to. Gazing over the crowd of people that gathered for our second meeting at Flashback Sunday night I felt that the only personal goal I had set for our group had been accomplished already. People were meeting people. People with certain interests met other people with the same interests. People with completely different interests found some common ground that united them with others. And most of all, throughout the room, I got the distinct impression that every last person was there because they CARED and realized that caring was all that was necessary to start getting something done for the greater good of our community.
As I said in a previous Collective-related email, the sum of our energy is so much greater than its parts. I am a firm believer in the power of entropy and that’s what a lot of what Collective is all about for me, personally. If nothing else it creates the active possibility for change. If the last month has been any indication of the scale of those possibilities, then I am incredibly excited to have the chance to share in the experience.
So what is Collective (remembering now that this was the question this whole missive was supposed to answer)? Honestly, I don’t really know. I guess community/arts group is a good term, but really, there is no definition. It is itself as it exists at any given moment; its success or failure mandated only by what people are willing to give to it. What it was this last Sunday I found beautiful and exciting and cannot imagine it’s future incarnations proving any less fabulous as long as people care and are willing to show that they do.
Collective’s First ‘Big’ Event is Scheduled for March 11th, 2004
Email me to get on our mailing list to keep up to date on that and other events
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