Story Chicago 2012: Everywhere – Part IV

September 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

(This is one of a series of posts recounting my experience at Story Chicago. Read Part I herePart II here and Part III here.)

One of my favorite parts of day two was getting to see All Sons and Daughters.

Me with All Sons and Daughters

What’s funny is that after they played I went out of the auditorium to try and find them.  They were nowhere to be found and none of the Story staff knew if they had left already.  Sadly, I resigned myself to the fact that they had played and gone.  But then, later in the day as I walked back into the auditorium, there they were!  I grabbed my phone and nervously asked for a picture.  They happily obliged.  David and Leslie are two of the kindest, most gentle souls around.  And you wouldn’t know it from the picture, but David has a fantastic smile!  Hilarious.  If you haven’t heard them, please go to their site and get their new EP that came out today!  Gosh, I’m such a huckster.

Micah Bournes (Bor-NAY), a spoken word artist, also performed with ASAD.

Micah. Yes.

In addition to having the best hair at Story, Micah gave one of the most passionate performances of the conference.  His piece, Ex Nihilo, describes how God used words to create the universe.  Incredibly powerful.  In another piece about Africa he proposed that we (Americans) “look at her with eyes of pity for being less fortunate, but what if she’s only less rich?”  Micah’s skill with words and his physical expressiveness result in an experience you won’t soon forget.  And he has a great smile, too.

Makoto Fujimura was the first speaker on day two.


Kind of.  Ian Morgan Cron actually gave one of the kindest, longest, most extravagant introductions I’ve ever heard.  It resulted in this tweet from yours truly:

Once Mako got to the stage, he took us deeper.  See, Mako is an artist.  A world-renowned artist.  What I loved about him most was his self-awareness.  He fully understands that the art he makes is beyond what most of us can understand.  “People look at my paintings and say, ‘Yes…so…can you explain this to me?'” he admitted.  I love that he’s real enough to understand that distance and is willing to help bring us closer.

Mako’s entire presentation was amazing, but one part that stuck out to me was when he spoke about culture care.  We’re all aware of “creation care” and being green and being good stewards of our physical environment.  It’s super “in” right now.  But, Mako posits that our culture needs that same attention.  It’s sick.  It’s polluted.  Artists are trying to thrive in an ecosystem that is not in good shape.  He encouraged us not to be catfish, bottom-feeders, but to be trout; swim upstream into the clear, pure waters and create there.  Let our creation flow downstream and make the murky waters bright again.

He also championed the cause of what I’ll call “secret art.”  The art you do just because you love to create.  The art you make that isn’t for publication or display, but just because you have that thing inside you that needs to come out.  This is an idea I’ve heard echoed by nearly every kind of artist.  Like huge bands that play dive bars to remind themselves it’s not just about playing in front of thousands, but it’s about the music.  And painters and poets and novelists who have pieces under their beds and tucked in their dresser drawers.  Like Emily Dickinson, who had a thousand poems in a box under her bed.  She wrote them because she needed to create and that was all.  May we be so diligent and true to our artistic calling.

In the next post I’ll wrap-up day two and then have one more post concluding my Story experience!

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