Make Good Art

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

There's a book inside everyone, and for some of us, there is no better therapy.

Neil Gaiman put out this siren song, and Sally Franckowiak made good art to it. I'm very glad this exists. And I want to share it, but shared on social media, it becomes an ad asking for likes, a currency both less elusive and more elusive than actual currency. Social media is not a space for art. It is a space for ads. The internet makes everything an ad, even art, even people, because those things are brands and ew.

What Gaiman said is a rallying cry to make art (the opposite of an ad).

A shout to those in the back pretending they don’t care.

And a whisper to those in front who definitely get it.

The Republic of Letters is a space for the people who do that, the people who shuffle their lives around to do that. The story-tellers, the world-builders, the heart-breakers, from the passionate and angry to poetry as soft as snow.

It’s also for the people who just want to taste what that feels like. See if they like it. See if it helps.

For me, writing is bodily. I have a need to get things out, take the bricolage of feelings and jumbled ideas and alchemize them into art. I want to teach this to people. Writing is a craft, yes, but it is also an act of self-care. For some, it is as necessary as air.

When done well, it helps heal others too.

We wanted RoL’s website to feel like the opposite of social media, more like a throwback to the Wild West of the Internet, when content free-floated in simple blocks of shapes and colors. Before connectivity and the ubiquity of advertisements.

So our blog page will feature our teaching-artists from time to time. Little blips of beauty or fire. Tiny rallying cries to make art.

Good art begets good art.

(And thinking is an art.)

You don’t need an MFA to write. Or a long trail of publications. You just need to write.

You need to write and you need to read.

(And having a few friends who do the same things is nice.)

If it feels important, it is important.

And good art is important.

For me, it’s what makes life worth living. And like Henry James said, “I see no substitute for the force and beauty of its process.”

Our spring catalogue is out now, so we’re currently enrolling for all our classes and discussions. And we’re offering two writing contests in honor of our first two courses.

Our Grand Opening Gala is March 6th. Everyone’s invited. 10a-9p. There will be punch and pie.


Cathy Borders

Program Director

The Republic of Letters NFP

RoL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

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Geneva, Illinois 60134