It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood–A Rant of Sorts

Artists/Writers who don’t have extensive CVs or friends in high places or  well-known names are desperate for an audience.

Everything I say here, by the way, is the same for sculptors, potters, paper makers, jewelry creators, etc etc etc. You know who you are.


Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of negative posts on Facebook regarding the requests for friendship as a way of introducing an artist’s work. In other words. someone asks someone to be friends and, if the friendship is accepted, the requester presents a page to be liked or a book promotion or the publishing of some work in a lit mag, or a group of photographs or a portfolio of paintings. It appears that, among some, this is considered very UNCOOL.

I don’t get it.

If we are not “friends” on social media, how are you supposed to draw my attention to your work?

It doesn’t matter how you happened upon my name; maybe you enjoy my work. Maybe you’ve seen me on one or another posts about writing or art and you want to introduce me to YOUR work. You’re not sure if you’d like to be my buddy, but you would like me to recognize and maybe even buy something and, even better, talk about it to others.  But, to some, this is a kind of irritant or a symbol that you are just not COOL.


Well, I’ve never been real comfortable with what’s COOL or UNCOOL. It seems to me that garnering an audience in the /literature game is really tough.

Most can’t afford the fees of PR businesses and, unless your book is being published by Random House or Black Sparrow Press or your paintings/photos are featured in a gallery or are part of a book of prints.

you can figure that you–the artist–is the only one bringing that work to the world.

All we have is each other.

The “life raft” that is the well-known, widely-read writer, or the artist who actually sells, is that person or persons we look to as a source of support. One good word from a big name or even a medium-size name can make a huge difference in a writer’s book sales/readership or in the sale of a painting or a photograph.

Note to those who are offended by such requests:
No one is trying to offend important writers and artists and artisans. No one is trying to be your best friend–you probably have plenty of those.

Most are not even trying to be a significant event in your lives. We’re all  just trying to get a fucking foothold in the cold world of art and literature. We’d be incredibly grateful if you’d just take a look at what we do. We just really want to get your attention somehow.  Didn’t you ever want that for your own stories and poems and pictures?  We’re just hoping that MAYBE you MIGHT buy one of our books from the small, independent publisher who had 6 ounces of faith in a few of us and published us, or that you like the painting you see on our pages enough to ask about it, find out its price. None of that is about COOL or UNCOOL. It’s about support–any way, any kind.

Really, it’s as simple as ignoring the request if it offends you.

So, here is my note to artists:  if you want me, Martina, to take special notice of what you do and you request “friendship” of me in the hope that I’ll do that, that’s fine. I’ll take a look at your work, your page, your pictures. If I like your work, I’ll tell others. If I have some money to spend, I’ll buy something. If it’s not for me, I’ll say nothing. But you are more than welcome to “friend” me and guide me to your page, to ask me to “like” that page or like you, or have a look at your work.

The world needs its artists.  COOL or UNCOOL, you can buzz me. I’ll definitely have a look.





Before the revolution, we had tape
decks and ghetto blasters and psychedelic
posters. The hummingbirds out there in the
desert sipped red syrup and sang their scorched


music to our patios and golf courses.
Before the revolution, we were one for
all and all for one. We sang kumbaya
and rested our arms on each others’ shoulders.


We smoked whifty, ate food, counted our change
and chipped in, shared cheap red wine at gatherings
where we shouted slogans and argued meanings.
We vowed never to send out children to schools


which required uniforms, or never to send
them to school at all, or we vowed never to
have children. We fucked each other with vigor
and intensity followed by yabyum and


hashish. Before the revolution, the wind
blew strong through the canyons and brought the desert
to our doors and windows, sighed and sobbed what was
to come, sighed and sobbed probabilities and


failures. We knew furniture makers and bread
bakers and those who created sand paintings,
drug addicts who wrote songs, hefty women who
sat at looms and lay with strangers.  It was a


good time. Forever was ending even as
we lived it. Now, there are places where the grass
is no longer damp in the mornings. There are
skies the color of a dirty plastic bag


and that which races through the canyons are strong
winds tainted with the smell of blood. The bosses
are at the doors of our bathrooms and bedrooms.
The money-ed are large, even-toed ungulates.


They eat anything they come across; grass, coins,
berries, carrion, dollar bills, tubers, bonds,
monuments, baby feet, insects. They use their
powerful noses, not just for sniffing and

pig nose

locating but for rooting up the sidewalks,
the beaches, forest floors, the arctic ice floes.
They burn the books and shun science; they nurture
illiteracy, proclaim the trivial.


Now we work for all there is and for nothing
at all. The jewels, gemstones gone to calcium,
pulp and cementum, dentum and enamel
animosteeth in the mouth of a dragon.

greedy drgon



*from the article “Feeding Pigs Do’s and Don’t’s” by Jeff Griffith; July 3, 2009; Smallholder, UK