Across the Transom: August 2022

Conversations and readings

Gahlord Dewald :: 8/31/22 :: 32M Center for Creative Work


I try not to pat myself on the back too hard for quitting Instagram. I certainly miss it from time to time. But it just wasn't healthy for me and felt like I was giving time/life/energy to an exploitive system.

With a generous greasing of cash, the operation transformed hundreds of clients into musical artists in an attempt to trick Meta, the owner of Instagram and Facebook, into verifying their accounts and hopefully paving the way to lucrative endorsements and a coveted social status.

Craig Silverman and Bianca Fortis in "Real Money, Fake Musicians: Inside a Million-Dollar Instagram Verification Scheme"


Some things I saw this week at 32M Center for Creative Work


Speaking like a checkbook
I had some time with this month amongst a group of people for whom I care deeply but they don't entirely "get" me or what I do or how I make a go of it. It's always a challenging thing this: talking with people I love but who don't have anything to grasp in how I can continue to make art or the (sometimes rough) choices I have to make to continue making art.

I'm not talking about the actively hostile, the people who hate art or artists or that anyone is allowed to make art. I'm talking about the well-meaning, the embrace of the concerned-for-one's-livelihood, the sharpened fish hooks of social obligation, or standing, or place in life.

A week or two of conversations that so frequently end up being an only slightly elaborated checkbook register. How much does it cost? Equating the economic value of anything/everything with the reason such things exist in a world of humans. None of these conversations were cold or calculating. It wasn't a convention of bankers. The participants ranged in age from late teens to late 70s.

Trying to engage in conversation without establishing the dollar value of the subject of the conversation was nearly impossible. For me, as someone who typically tries to favor life experience over bank account, the whole thing becomes stifling.

It's not like artists or musicians avoid talking money. We do it all the time. But standpoint is one of "there are these realities to producing work, we all understand how ridiculous it is, here's how I'm trying to manage this ridiculousness" as opposed to "this activity is a waste of time because it costs more than it will ever return." As if the use of time is somehow more valuable if there's a dollar attached to it than if there's a unique pattern of sound, or a memory, or the color of light at just the right angle caressing speckles off a cottonwood in a fading summer evening.

At the end of these few weeks I sat atop a building in Minneapolis with my love and a dear old friend and new friend. We were able to talk about the meaning of things as they are and as we relate to them and experience them as the sky cleared out open and golden empty.

The reminders of choices made along the way.


And on some level you have to be a private person to create.

Holly Hunter re: David Cronenberg