Discovery and communality are among the words that come to mind as I take up the invitation to write the initial blog for the (pilot) website of Mad Heartists.
It might be beneficial to kick off by trying to define what Mad Heartists is, if that is indeed the name upon which those of us who have been involved in setting up this online community will settle upon. The most polished and suitable answer is likely to be found by consulting the mission statement elsewhere on this site - one that is, in truth, still very much a work-in-progress as I write.
As a member of this recently-formed group I ought to avow that I can only speak - and/or write - on behalf of myself and nobody else. And who the hell am I anyway? In order to answer that it might be useful to begin by resorting to the self-introductory physical description now accompanying many or most Zoom-type meetings. My name is Donald and I'm a thin, white, androgynous and, typically, playful, friendly as well as generally curious 64 year-young male with shortish greying hair and (especially when online) glasses. Today I'll identify as a multi-passionate, multi-disciplinary mature emerging artist, devising performer and veteran arts writer with OCD and hoarding tendencies and a history of dysfunctional family trauma. Additionally, I'm HIV+ and an overachiever - and an oversharer.
You may want to know what drew me to Mad Heartists. I guess I'd say a combo of personal and professional life experience that feels closely aligned with a keen interest in Mad Heartists' thematic twin poles of the arts and mental health (I have an urge to put the word 'mental' in brackets but will resist and, instead, merely editorialise upon the impulse.) Gradually I've come to realise that I'm also at an age or stage in which I am seeking, finding and questioning what community - live, online or both - can mean. I am wondering, too, about the inevitably myriad reasons that may have motivated you, or imagined and, at least for the moment, anonymous readers of this inaugural blog, to visit this website. Perhaps, given that Mad Heartists has been conceived as, among other things, a place to establish initially virtual and very possibly creative connections you might feel an inclination or need to make contact with other mad, hearty people. Now I will contradict my earlier statement and declare, on behalf of this group, that we sincerely welcome you and your interest!