A Blueprint for Community
Photography by Devon Butler
Once, in the hallowed pages of the Blueprint, I proclaimed that I was ‘starting a cult’ (ed’s note: see “Graham’s Startin’ a Cult!”, July 2008). At the time, it seemed like a cult would be the solution to my problems and needs. Lonely? Why not be surrounded by a sea of dependent others. Tired of perpetual bickering? Then it is time to drive out opposing voices through a cleanse of your compound. Looking for love? Create a group of brainwashed followers who adore your every word and deed.
Sadly, this became boring. While my dreams of starting a cult never actually came to fruition, thinking about the process and the ultimate product of that dream made me say “Nay; ‘Tis not truly what my heart desires…”
What I really desired was a community, a group of people who shared a family of values – not always the same, but common enough that when individual ideals came up in a conflicting way choices could be made to cherish our commonalities instead of to cultivate crisis – and that with that family of values we would be able to move forward, stronger, together. This community held the love, challenge, and companionship I wanted out of my cult, and without the zombie- like obedience and pathetic sycophancy I had grown to reject.
During my university days, Blueprint and other groups, off-and on-campus, were where I found communities founded on challenge and compassion, and became a better person through those contacts. Outside the cozy womb of university life, it could be argued one needs to put more effort into seeking these contacts out; after all, it’s not like a university campus where you’re as likely to trip over any of the myriad of groups presenting themselves to passersby. If you want the relation to a common cause, you need to forge it for yourself.
If you would consider yourself a seeker after community, as someone who wishes to create a non-biological family of folk promoting ideas and collaborative effort towards a unified goal, I would like to offer a suggestion. Since our days with the Blueprint, myself and others have begun the process of establishing a publication available freely in the KW community and beyond. This is a forum available to anyone and everyone who wishes to share in the spirit of peace, and this forum is Highbraü Magazine.
Whether you write academic argument or dry satire; whether you see the world through your telephoto lens or through an explosion of paint on paper; whether you wish to slam poetry or slip us a short story, Highbraü could be for you. Highbraü Magazine is an independent, locally-organized print forum that looks to provide opportunities to those who seek them. While our magazine is currently small scale and obscure, our intention is to sustainably grow the publication and facilitate dialogue in the KW community. Don’t let the ‘culty’ beginning of this essay fool you – all opinions and ideas are welcome, encouraged, and delighted in. No need for brainwashed sycophants here; I only ask for those in my personal life.
Graham Engel has been a Blueprint contributor since 2007. Visit highbraumagazine.com to learn more about the magazine.