aesthetic that values surrender and wonderment over certainty, appreciation over
problem solving, listening and attunement over individual isolation. (Barrett, 2012, p.
My willingness to not be confined and permission to explore allowed for dialogue that was
real, personal and at times almost like a jazz riff that would take off in an unexpected and
surprising direction. Rather than stopping the conversation and deciding what was on or off
track, I welcomed these “jazzy” sidebar moments and could reflect on them later. For
example, jimi izrael talked candidly about his fight with Essence magazine and his futile
attempts to collect his money for a story. He also mentioned the angry women he
encountered on his book tour for The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can’t Find
Good Black Men (izrael, 2010). How could this be examined from an appreciative
perspective? Perhaps, exploring the courage it takes to put your ideas out in the public
and the willingness to take the heat.
The comfort zone of a having a long relational history and friendship with the participants
coupled with knowing they could change anything afterwards or back away from the
project (Participatory Consent Form), allowed for compelling and heartfelt dialogue about
their freelance experience. This Appreciative Reflection furthers the research dialogue by
bringing forth forms of life that is based on appreciative exploration. The Appreciative
reflections, in alphabetical order, are available in chapter IV.
The Macro Narrative
The macro narrative blended the voices of all the participants into four distinct interpretive
chapters covering critical emergent freelance themes while weaving their stories along with
threads of commentary from experts in social construction, psychology, sociology, urban
studies, media, health, and communications and this intertwines complementary points of
view to the topics discussed. The process of writing served as an analytical tool for sense
The first chapter, The Liminal Freelance Landscape: Geography, Proximity, and
Community, examines the terrain of where the freelancer is emotionally and physically
situated. The liminal landscape, which includes an overarching tensional uncertainty of
being “betwixt and between” (Turner, 1967) as the freelancers find themselves foraging for
work while working, is a significant part of the migrant creative experience. The freelancer’s
networked community is also explored whether global or local and proximity to clients is
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