A long time friend of mine who is a copyright attorney and agent that has been representing music artists for three decades explained to me years ago “how things really work.” He was kind of giving me the facts of life talk about creativity and the industry. He said, “The industry is like a tall building with mirrored windows. The ones who run things can see out, and the ones looking to get in can’t see in. The artists can only see their dreams reflected back to them. The industry is looking for faces that can sing. The artist is nothing but a face. They don’t really matter to the industry. It uses them, and then when it is done, it gets more faces. The artist doesn’t matter. Only the industry matters.”
I responded with, “So you are like a tick looking for dogs to suck their blood.” He laughed and said, “Well, yeah.” He went on to tell me more, none of which sounded any more hopeful or appealing than the basic speech.
So, I just started my own publishing house, Sage Hill, instead of looking for publishers. Sage Hill Publishing is dedicated to helping people see who they are made to be, so they can do what they are made to do, with a focus on the Spiritual Root System. I wanted to write and publish what mattered to me, what I believed could be of benefit to others. Sage Hill is small, makes little money, and remains driven by its mission. No ticks, no mirrored building, just pure creativity in which the artist is the heart of the work and more than a face. I have also been fortunate enough to be able to conduct my career much the same way. I hope to continue so.
I’m much older than people who are considered Millennials, but I identify with their hopes, their perseverance, and passion. I’m not talking about the whiners, who moan and demand that the world change. I’m talking about the ones who are tough, who persevere. They follow their passion that has a purpose in it, and a gutsy plan that is bigger than them.
Those Millennials are part of a grand artistic tradition of passion. Artists are people who bring their hands, their heads and their hearts to what they do. The grand artistic tradition links all generations to what passion really is: a willingness to be in pain for something that matters more than one’s own comfort. The grand artistic tradition is participation in something that matters to one’s own heart, is usually connected to a calling of some sort, and is about a style of living more than living in style. These people live their values of connection to relationship, doing with others whose faces matter to them, caring about people as kinfolks, as they themselves would wish to be cared about. They also give back because they see themselves as fortunate for having an active passion.
Millennials are forming “pod” production centers in which quality and the demand for quality is a centerpiece of their work. It doesn’t have to be big to be great. But it can become widespread by maintaining the “pod” effect. The “pod” effect is maintaining quality through keeping passion, intimacy, and integrity as the emphasis. Once the size of the group is bigger than can contain the essential ingredients of community and quality, it extends to the next “pod” by replicating. Or the “pod” remains in a continuing cycle of doing things well. It doesn’t die by not growing; it increases its depths by becoming a quality brand.
These people in the grand artistic tradition choose a high quality life in which they can use the industries that have always used them.
I love it. We will keep things alive that were fading away not long ago. These people love family, gatherings, parenting, community, dedicated work, truth-telling, relationship, creativity, and do not devalue money in doing so. They value money as a byproduct of doing something well that has value. They are not idealistic as much as they are living their ideals. They value quality in all age groups, not just their own.
Press on true Millennials in the coming year. Get tougher without demanding the world change. Change where you live by living your passion, intimacy and integrity where you are. Press on this year. We of another generation will do the same, just as generations before you have done. Keep the grand artistic tradition alive.