Gertrude Stein: “What is the answer?”
Alice B. Toklas [silent]
Gertrude Stein: “In that case, what is the question?”
There was a time, long long ago, when I thought I might enjoy life as a writer. I began as a child by creating homemade newsletters for my family to read (which is odd since they had been, in most cases, there for whatever I was writing about). I dabbled in composing bad poetry in high school and then fought my way through college and graduate school critical writing exercises, only to find myself hungry to touch art and talk to artists rather than write about it.
I ended up living in Amsterdam for a year, and my best friend, who was an actually good writer working on her MFA in creative writing, started connecting me with writing opportunities for various publications to keep me busy between bartending shifts. This was very rewarding because I had wanted very badly to be a Broadway star when I was a child and seeing my name in print felt like a decent consolation prize to seeing my name in lights.
Anyway, things changed when I started experimenting with curating, and I have come to love writing as a necessary part of being a good curator but not my true calling.
I’m sharing all of this as a way to state my deep respect for writing and writers, and to explain why it became important to include a literary component of The Project Room. More than that, however, I wanted to continue the conversation that would take place in the physical space. The Big Question, “Why Do We Make Things?” has universal relevance, and someone who does not spend time in The Project Room should still be able to access the issues, discussions, and events that form around this question.
As we move forward and explore the Big Question deeper, you can expect writing from a wide range of contributors with different points of view. Some content will respond to the Big Question directly, some of it will be taken from conversations that occurred in The Project Room, and some will be both theoretical and personal, my favorite combination in writing.
Off Paper is lucky to have a new Editor, Jenifer Ward, who starts things off with just such an essay in “In the Making.” Jenifer is an incredible thinker and prolific doer, another one of my favorite combinations.
Welcome to Off Paper!