Ok small towners, your time is finally here.
For years, cities have been the hotbeds of cultural movements. Hip-hop, punk, grunge, skateboarding, street art, and pretty much everything we have ever come to recognize as significant in the “artistic” fields.
It made sense. If you had something to say, or if what you were saying was incredibly meaningful, the best place to say it was where people were. It never paid much to be the best Ska band in Wewoka, Oklahoma, but if you made your way to the big city, heck even something as big as Gainsville, Florida, you could possibly be the next Less Than Jake.
I spent 19 of the best 24 years of my life in New York City and the Bay Area. Over that time, I have also been lucky enough to travel to lots of the great urban areas of the United States as well as Canada.
One thing that I have noticed is that the economy seems to be thriving in these urban areas. Sure people still have shitty apartments in New York City, but it is not like the olden days, where you were also scared to walk on the streets at certain times.
It just seems like people are very comfortable in all of these places. The food scenes are amazing, artisan coffee shops pop up on every street corner and people have realized that there are more ways than music and art to make it in the world of creativity.
These big urban areas are able to spread their message with their inhabitants and among other likeminded folks and it just seems like we are all in agreement that life can be pretty damn good.
Lots of innovation is happening in the world of staying in, home delivery, being extra productive at a computer screen and being able to afford high tech electronics.
I moved to a “small” town in Oregon a year ago. And in fact, this town of 28,000 people is considered a big town compared to a lot of the places around it.
People here struggle. Trying to afford organic vegetables is not really a topic that people speak about.
Some people even say that going to Central Oregon is like going back 20 years in time. And you know what, in some ways it is.
We are isolated enough here that we have to come up with our own culture. Whether it be a flourishing construction scene or whether it is a new style of music, I just have a feeling that people here will tap into something creative because it is so far off of the radar.
The window isn’t very large, but it is there. The talents and skills of the folks here is just much different from what you see in other places. These skills become businesses or arts and these art and business grow.
At some point someone from the big city will come over here and realize that the very reason they moved to the big city years ago is the same reason they might want to move back to the small town now.
Creativity is alive and well in Central Oregon. Sure we have our wannabe tech companies and hipsters too, but we also have the space and beauty to create without fear of someone stealing our idea or having to work for a corporation just to pay your rent.
There is a pioneering spirit here, because it has never been an easy place to make it. And unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at things), it is often times the struggles that create the most innovation and creativity.
This has been another semi-rant, semi-brag about the place I now am lucky enough to call home.
Get Out. Get Lost. Get Goatin’.