Thursday, September 9, 2010

Got the Grant! Didn't get to Speak!

Got the call from the Goddard Got Art people yesterday: I'm among the five recipients of a $1,000 grant to use my art to help elect Terry Goddard.

The inspiration for starting this oral serialization project was moral outrage over SB 1070, and now I get to use my art to help get Jan Brewer the hell outta office. How perfect is this collaboration? I'm totally stoked.

So yesterday I show up at the council chambers with my novel excerpt and my excitement, ready to jump back in after my summer hiatus, read the next excerpt, and make my elect-Goddard statement.

Agenda Item Number Six: Call to the Audience. A guy from the Teamsters speaks, then a woman from Access Tucson, and then another, and another, and before long it becomes clear that the mayor is not going to call my name.

I've been expecting this to happen. Sometimes the place is just full of people with something to say.

There were other things going on. Like budget cuts. In these moments--when the council chambers are packed with citizens with an opinion to voice about their bus service or their public access television--I question my project. Who am I to take three minutes of participatory democracy from a person whose story isn't even close to fictional?

But then: a rant from a guy who sounds like your grandfather on Thanksgiving after a several shots of Irish whisky. Stop spending so damn much money! Thanks, Grandpa, for your nuanced and insightful perspective on how to deal with the city's $51 million budget shortfall. Artistic/moral crisis averted: I now feel fully entitled to my three minutes.

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