The Slant


Unknown Author Writes a Reality Check

By: Roderick Reed
By: Roderick Reed

Before taking a seat on a bench, I noticed a piece of paper with handwritten text. I had just finished a bike ride. I stopped to look at the view from Alta Laguna Park and catch my breath. I picked it up and read what you are about to read. I don’t know if it is a song, a poem or simply someone’s thoughts. I think it was the latter.

Laguna Morning,

Commuting to the tower of glass./ Everything I need is in my briefcase and I am up to the task./ When the sun gets high in that Laguna sky/ I’ll be busy working for the man, in the tower up the stair./ Laguna morning, Laguna I’ll be there./ Made a sales call in Brea, lost my phone along the way./ Losing touch with my wife and my family but tomorrows another day./ Laguna morning. /I’ll sprint for door once the clock has chimed/ I am hoping the boss will be blind/ I can’t wait for the day with no bills to pay. I can just stay home all day./ It’s a Laguna morning again. Laguna is where I will stay.

People who live in Laguna are special people. They live here because they love this special little place on earth. Many of the folks who call Laguna home are creative types in some form or another. Even those who get in the car each day and commute to a desk job in another city have some creative sensibility about them. I don’t know who wrote the words but they are art. Only in Laguna could you find random art, inspired thought and general creativity.

The world loves Laguna Beach, but why? It’s the culture or the vibe as I have called it. The culture of Laguna has been long established by those who are creative. The presence of art and artists is our culture and add value to our lives and our city.

It should not even be controversial that we build an artist work live complex. We should happily encourage painters to paint, writers to write, singers to sing and so on. We should wholeheartedly commit to the creative community, not with intentions but action. I wonder if this generation truly values the creative among us.

You might be surprised what goes on behind the scenes where creative Lagunans are “used” but not compensated fairly for their talent. Those who write, paint and broadcast their voice often willingly are in this predicament. Unfortunately creative folks are not always the best business people. As such there are some who make it their practice to use creative talent for little or no compensation as a business tool.

We slowly drain away our cultural artist blood. When it becomes too expensive for artists to live or work here, we should be quick to tender a solution. Laguna bleeds when events are held and painters are asked to come and paint on site as “a decoration” .Those artists don’t get paid and rarely get free lunch for the atmosphere they add by their mere presence at a fundraiser, charity event, garden show etc.

You could be shocked that the words writers write in your favorite Laguna blog, newspaper or magazine make little money, if anything, in a lot of cases. The voices you hear over the airways are often asked to work for free.

Inspired people for over a 100 years have created the culture we enjoy. They are what make Laguna special. Their endeavors fill up our senses. We should not allow our town to slowly, willingly lose its identity. Art makes Laguna “Laguna”.

I know some of you are reading this and are fine with it. “Survival of fittest,” if artists can’t afford to live here, then so be it. The point that I would make is that we need artists in Laguna. The art is what makes Laguna different. Without artists and creative expression in all its forms our Laguna culture erodes and another generation will only know Laguna as just another of the beach cities along our coast.

Somewhere, in some car, the man on his way to a desk job who wrote those beautiful words may find himself the catalyst for changing the way we see the creative among us.

Roderick Reed owns REEDesign Interiors in Laguna Beach. He lives in town with his wife Kathy and two sons Mason and Jack.

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