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Worcester is a Story it Sings Itself: A Coda, of Sorts

I'm always a bit at a loss at the end of a large project. I find it difficult to get back into my regular rhythm of things. I'm a person who needs to keep busy. When I'm at rest, I become consumed by the things I want to do, the things I want to write, the shows I want to stage. This is the reason I often go from one mad project to the next: Simple boredom. I have a pathological aversion to boredom. It might be more complicated than that, but not that much more. In the end, I'm always driven to create. If the newspaper is consuming my life in such a way as to make it unconducive to poetry, I just find ways to challenge myself journalistically.

It is what it is. I've tamed a lot of my own demons by this point, but that's one that's so omnipresent, so insistent, that I'm not convinced it's a demon at all. Maybe this thing that makes me push myself further and further is an angel of sorts. Of course, even The Devil was an angel, once.

The recent consuming project has been my and Richard Duckett's contributions to the newspaper's “Remaking Worcester” series. I don't want to speak for him, but for me, it was an opportunity to shine a light on the city's arts & entertainment community in a way it doesn't usually happen. Often, we treat the arts as if they are somehow separate to the life and development of a city. Or worse, we talk about them solely in the terms of what they contribute to the city's mundane existence. As though “supporting the arts” were simply a code for “increasing property value.” But it's a little bit more than all that, isn't? The painters, poets, drag queen, actors, rockers, symphonies, comedians and rappers … they're a reflection of a place's soul. At their best, the arts of a place are the story a place is telling of itself.

I don't trust the future. Not really. I've found it, in my experience, to be all too fickle and changeable. I like this moment in Worcester, though. I like the sense of possibility, the sense of adventure. I like the idea that we can be more, even if we're not entirely sure what we're trying to be. We're trying on identities like an alienated teenager – we're an arts town, a baseball town, a biotech town, we're all of it! And, well, maybe. Some of it will stick, but unlikely all of it. But that's OK. Most of the most interesting people I know were alienated teenagers. They tend to come out the other side a little wiser, if a bit damaged. Maybe different industries will be attracted to the town than the ones the powers that be are hoping for, or maybe sports will prove just a phase. I think the arts are sticking around here, though. They've been here a long time, waxing and waning in visibility, but always tenacious. Worcester, it seems, is a city with a story, one it's not done telling.

Me? I should probably find myself something else to do, now ...

Remaking Worcester Package

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