Friday, September 09, 2011

Morning Mail...

I sometimes dread checking my email in the morning. It seems like in the few hours that I lay my head down to catch a little bit of rest, a magical door has occasion to open to the land of Snark and Stank. From that door issues forth negative emails that explode like rotten eggs to stink up the rest of the day.

Today's rotten egg comes courtesy of a jewelry-maker on the West Coast. She writes, "Aren't you tired of asking for money yet? You must be really narssasictic [sic] to think that people hundreds of miles away care if you open your "gallery" or not."

For a brief moment, an evil thought popped into my head of posting her name, email address and the rest of her diatribe and letting the virtual smack-down commence. However, that would not be very gentlemanly of me AND even though her email stinks of negativity, I can only imagine that she specifically wrote to "help" me and has concerns.

So instead of being negative back, as tempting and as easy as it would be, I will take the opportunity to clarify my position.

To answer the first question: Yes, I am tired of asking for money. It's not easy asking for help. If it was up to me, I would be the happy recipient of the lottery and never ask anything of anyone again. The truth of the matter is that it's a rough time to be starting a business. The economy is pretty shaky and even our own government is going through a financial rough patch. I am by no stretch of the imagination rich, especially after having cancer and paying back those insane medical bills. This dream would not be possible without the generous support, kindness, and willingness of the community to help out and participate. To them, I am eternally grateful.

To address the second comment: I don't know if I would consider myself "narcissistic". It's true that I've created quite a nice set-up for myself over the past few years, and while I'm not wealthy, I have a freedom that most people only dream of. Up until now, I could travel to my heart's content, leave for the winter for warmer climates, avoiding ice and snow completely, and best of all... stay home all day and make things. And as an added bonus... never have to change out of pajamas unless I wanted to. That's maybe a little "indulgent" but I don't think "narcissistic". Opening the gallery, which by definition is a place to showcase and feature work of artists and craftspeople, will quickly remedy all that. It means that I'm locked down into one place, will have to stay for the winter, miss a trip to Hawaii, and have to wear pants and shoes everyday. Why trade off? The main reason is that I want to give back. I don't believe that a creative space is a single-cell organism. A place that inspires others to see and to create is truly a complex animal; it requires the participation of a lot of different people to function healthily. It's all about establishing roots, building community, and connecting individuals and artwork. The rising tide raises all boats. For example, if the gallery does well, we'll be able to buy more artisan-made goods and help support artists follow their dreams of making things full-time. By helping them do that, they are able to contribute more beauty to this world and give others vehicles to create with. Along those same lines, while the gallery is definitely rooted in a physical community, it is not limited to those walls. The community that we belong to extends around the globe and involves thousands of people. The gallery encourages participation amongst members of this BIG family and embraces the diverse perspectives that each individual brings to the table. And if I was so narcissistic, don't you think I would name it The Andrew Thornton Gallery?

Oddly enough, whether "She-who-shall-not-be-named" intended it, I feel even more affirmed in my convictions to see Allegory Gallery meet its maximum potential and strive fully towards the tenants to educate, inspire, and build community. It was good to write out why I'm doing this and really internalize the motivations of tackling this challenge.


Diana P. said...

First, I dont get why people like this continue to read your blog and see what you are doing if they don't like it.

Second, why does it bother them so much that they feel the need to email you?

I think they need to get a hobby because they obviously have too much free time sitting around and worrying about what you are choosing to do.

Jenny said...

Eloquently said, my friend. Snarky me says, "Well, she sure as daylight won't have work in the gallery!" Then I was saddened by her attitude. No man/woman is an island, especially not the artist /small business person. I feel that part of our job is to support and network, and assist each other. I choose to see fellow ceramic bead or ceramic tile makers as colleagues not the competition.

It is crystal clear to me, for one - that your goals are unselfish. And I can imagine the daunting task you are undertaking. The positive energy and good karma ( for lack of better terms) will balance out wearing shoes...and snow boots. You are healthy and happy, and fulfilling a dream - who wouldn't wish that for their fellow human?

My Life Under the Bus said...

Why in the world does she keep reading then??? Good Grief she has the freedom to not read what she doesn't like - instead of bring someone else down. Talk about narcissistic! *DELETE*

Amber Dawn Inventive Soul said...

Very well spoken Andrew.
Best wishes.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

wtg Andrew!


Kathleen Lange Klik said...

What ever happened to "if you don't have something nice to say...". Have they not heard of Kickstarter? Or are all of the people trying to fund projects through it getting the same e-mails. It is all about having a dream and sharing it with people. Working together as a community. The world would be a better place if everyone lived life in that way of thinking. Just my thoughts anyway.

TesoriTrovati said...

This response, Andrew, is the perfect embodiment of my signature quote...
"Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day."
Whether she knew it or not (and thank you, by the way for being a gentleman and not proclaiming her identity to the world, and also for recognizing through the sting that perhaps she did want to "help" you) she provided you with a 'something good' in the form of a clarified vision and an even stronger point of view.

Celebrating this 'something good' with you today!

Enjoy the day!

Dawn Doucette said...

Wow... it never ceases to amaze me how other's need to dump their proverbial pile of crap on others to lighten their own load. Andrew, your response to her was perfect! Those that know you and follow your blog can see straight to your heart and know that it's exploding with kindness and just bursting to give back.

There's many more fish in the happy sea than that negative nelly. Make the rest of your day magical!


Anonymous said...

Harsh stuff! I would like to think she was having a really bad day and you just had the bad luck of being on the receiving end. I like to try and think she's not really a bad person. But hey ho.

Personally, I think what you're doing is great idea! It is definitely a community project, and you're giving back to people and supporting them. There's a huge debate here in the UK about the rich people and the tax system. The rich (I don't know how 'rich' they are) are saying they would like to give back to the community and create projects to support smaller business etc. YOU'RE DOING THIS. You're putting the economy back on its feet. This is a great feat, and you should be proud. I wish you every success in your venture.

Karyn B said...

Three wonderful galleries/art schools had to close down in my town due to the economic crash in the last two years. This took away not only opportunity for our local artists to show & sell our work, but it also dried up our little art community's interactions in many ways.

She's missing the point that opening this gallery isn't just for you, Andrew. It's for all the local artists and craft people in your area and for the national artisans that you hope to showcase in your store as well. And for the handmade artisans you hope to patronize.

My suspicion is, she probably is lashing out at you because her own dreams aren't coming about and she's subconsciously jealous that she doesn't have the bravery to humbly put herself out there and chase her dreams. Or she resents somehow that she doesn't have a network of support that she needs. So kudos to you for being a gentleman about it.


Trish said...

I follow your blog each day, and have been inspired by what you are doing and what you are aspiring to do....and I was so angry that someone felt the need to make something ugly out of it.
Your answer was to turn that ugly into something good. I have long loved the things you make, wished I had the money to get into the challenges you present, and have been cheering you on in your dream of the gallery! You ARE doing what I dream of....and even if I never get to that part of the road, you have given me hope for the journey! Thinking there are WAY more people cheering along with me than there are those writing ugly emails....and the good will prevail!

SueBeads said...

I am dumbfounded by the attitudes of others Andrew. Again, she doesn't have to read your blog or even wish you well. I can't imagine waking up to that.

I actually had to have a talk with my son about people who do this sort of thing. We have had a hard year and he had something very nice and self-confidence-boosting happen to him yesterday, and some brat had the nerve to try and shoot him down and make it a bad thing.

It's too bad we have to learn that lesson so young, but you are the epitome of what I tried to tell him. You have to ignore those people and make sure you are ok with yourself...and know that what you are doing is right.

Erin S said...

There will always be those who choose to tear down rather than build up, (or at least, shut up) but keeping your positive attitude is how we rise above. You are one of the good guys! Here's hoping for great success for the gallery!

Shel said...

1st - way to go for being such a gentleman - how unselfish and kind. More folks should choose this route.

2nd - I agree with what Kathleen said above, "everyone working together" - would be heaven!

And 3rd - I love TesoriTrovati's quote - definitely words to live by!

Keep doing what you feel in your heart to do Andrew - that's where all the "good" in life comes from!

Heather Wynn Millican said...

I dearly hope that they feel remorse for their unkind actions. I applaud you for taking such brave steps and setting such a grand example of what a true gentleman should be. I admire you in countless ways sweet friend and love you SO much!

Marsha Hedrick said...

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people that insist on adding to the negativity in the world and who will put hurtful things in writing to others in what should be a happy and loving community.

I am amazed that people can be so mean. But I also find it amazing how many people are on the other hand quite generous and giving. It is unfortunate that you encountered the rotten one at the beginning of the day. But there is a rotten apple in every bunch just need to pick it out and discard it so you can enjoy the bounty of the rest of the bunch. Fortunately they are the minority and not the norm.

Have a wonderful day in spite of the rotten apple.

Spirited Earth said...

Andrew you made me laugh today..i know it was not intended to create a chuckle..but it made me reflect on what a kind person you are..
Now if i had gotten that response might have gone like this>
"so what's your's not against the law to be narssasictic or ask for a little assistance from friends"
there are some people whom i really do care what they think..but i don't feel it's worth getting much fretted by those whom you don't.

The Hole Bead Shoppe said...

Dear, dear, dear friend. . . While I love the internet - and all it's great uses, here is a perfect example of a TRITE, SIMPLE, BANAL, STALE, Stereotypical lack of filter the internet provides persons not named here. . . If only we could have a e-mail bomb blast for these people - when they spew forth their negativity to our e-mails and we innocently open it during our morning coffee - we could PUSH a button and slam them back with "No matter the negativity you've given me - I refuse to give it back or pay it forward. Your attempt at ruining my day did not work"...I don't have to say it, but Andrew, you know you're loved. And I, for one, wanted you to call your new shop "Planet Thornton" xoxxo

Kathy Van Kleeck said...

Criminy - what is with people and their need to spew venom?

The fact that you are part of a community that can be so supportive is a testament to the inherent goodness of humanity. I think reaching out to that community is both brilliant and enormously brave.

Your own initiative and sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are a blessing to creative individuals and the public at large ... a way to connect and support creative projects in a meaningful and tangible way.

And as always Andrew, your response is thoughtful, loving and ever so eloquent.

l i g a - kvk
love, infinite grace, abundance

Anonymous said...

Jiminy crickets, people are so rude. I just love how you said what so many of us feel;
"I don't believe that a creative space is a single-cell organism. A place that inspires others to see and to create...requires the participation of a lot of different people...all about establishing roots, building community, and connecting individuals and artwork."
yay! This is the way music is too- from creating to performing it.

Andrew, your heart, vision, & community building is what we love about you. Don't stop!

Joana said...

It makes me sad to read that someone would do such a thing.

As said above: if they don't like what you are doing, why keep checking your blog? and if they don't want to give you money, then ok.
But heck, why is it so hard for some to keep those negative thoughts for oneself??? Really, spewing this feelings is not helping you or her. I don't believe she feels better after such an awful email. And I too take my hat off for the way you handled the whole issue. That's truly savoir faire.

Just know you have the support of your friends.


Sharon Wagner said...

As always you bring levity and humility to a challenging situation. Rather than react in kind you choose to thoughtfully respond, but only after your wonderful introspection. What ever her motivations, she who shall ever remain nameless' critism resulted in your intense self exploration which lead to this lovely revelation of who you are. You are a consistant and constant source of admiration and inspiration. Which is why, when it is so hard to ask for it, and everyone around us would like some too, when you have asked for help, this community has given generously to you. Thank you Andrew, please keep doing what you are doing and never change who you are. You have chosen the high road and I applaud you.

Alice said...

Comments like that usually stem from jealousy brought on by insecurities of some sort. I wonder why such a person continues to 'torture' themselves by coming back to your blog again and again....

You handled it with grace, as usual. I don't think I could have done the same.

Roberta Warshaw said...

One of the bad things about being online is that people think they can say things that they would never dream of saying to someone in person. It is a conundrum.

Mary said...

WOW!! It is so sad that people feel the need to dump their own negativities on people like you Andrew, who are working hard to share the gift of creativity. I feel grateful that for the first time in many years I am able to "give back" Whether it is to buy someone a cup of coffee or support a fellow artist. I think some people like this woman forget what it is like to be a community and help one another which in turn makes us all grow and be better people.

I congratulate you being a better person by not saying things back to this woman. How sad that she can not find the same joy that you have with your
wonderful circle of friends.

Unknown said...

Andrew you are a true gentlemen, and what you wrote was wonderful, I love how your turned a negative into a positive.

Annie J S said...

I feel the anonymity of the internet makes people bolder in their statements that they would ever be face to face. Kudos to you for taking the high road.

Anonymous said...

What I love about you Andrew is your ability to inspire community among so many far and wide. Isn't life supposed to be about people helping other people? It certainly goes both ways when helping others. It makes the helpee and the helper both feel good and it's a win win all the way around. I would walk across hot coals for you because you have given so much of yourself to me and made my life richer for it..

Do Be Do Bead Do said...

What everybody else said, plus, all of my best wishes and support! You rock, Andrew!!!

Jenny said...

The day after 9/11/01, I vowed that I would do everythihg I could, anytime I had the opportunity, to make the world a better place to live. I truly believe the only way to answer to evil is with an act of good, or one of kindness, or an act that in some way enhances every day life. My small donation made it possible for me to do that, and I truly appreciated the opportunity. There is so much ugliness in life, and whenever we can, we should all try to make the world a more beautiful place to live. If that takes the shape of a donation to an artist from time to time, why not?

P.S. I suspect Ms. Sniffypants is jealous. I, for one, AM hundreds of miles away for you, and I DO care.

Sharon Driscoll said...

Mean People Suck! But, most of all they usually just hurt themselves in the process.