“And by the way,
everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it,
and the imagination to improvise.
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
~ Sylvia Plath
I am a writer and writers write. That’s all that really makes a writer a writer and no one can tell me otherwise. There are varying degrees of expertise which is why writers are considered a dime a dozen – just like artists.
I won’t tell anyone that they aren’t a writer or an artist. Their work has some value to them – and I’ve seen so many published works and alleged objets d’art that didn’t strike me as worthwhile endeavors, but there was obviously a market for them somewhere.
Someone tried to tell me a couple of years ago that there is a definitive concrete aesthetic value that could be assigned to anything. I disagreed and still do. When I was attending the University of Texas at El Paso a date took me to an art exhibit. I don’t remember the artists name – he was an older German man. A huge deal had been made of him. His works, as I remember, included photographs of nude men sprawled beneath disemboweled pigs covered in blood and instestines, and a large canvas that had been painted in haphazard “abstract” strokes with either blood or feces.
Concrete aesthetic value? For me – this art held no value. I was 17 at the time and I have to admit that I may have missed “the message”. Perhaps there was some statement there. 18 years later I might have an entirely different response to the exhibit. I only recall repulsion. I will not however say that this person wasn’t an artist. I can’t say that he didn’t pull something from deep inside himself and put it out there for everyone to see.
The hard part of being an artist isn’t putting it out there to be appreciated. It is a willingness to be ridiculed, to have your value and your vision questioned, to be told that you aren’t an artist. This is what people will feed you. The appreciation for unique work seems rare to me. Those that are lauded as geniuses and appreciated by the masses are those that have tapped into that “concrete” aesthetic, which I prefer to think of as mass appeal. If everyone thinks it is beautiful it probably isn’t all that unique in nature. That doesn’t mean that creating the piece required no skill – the ability to convey realism in color, light, and perspective – the same as in writing – indicates varying degrees of expertise.
And so it seems that the entire world of art, including writing, is entirely subjective. I don’t know that I could ever be a critic. I really want people to make up their own minds about what they are reading and observing. They should have their own opinion on it. I can only present for them my thoughts, and cherished is the friend that can disagree with me without imposing their opinion or devaluing my own.
So what am I going on and on about this for? Because I write. I write alot. I have so many words and thoughts in my head every day that if I don’t write them down I can do nothing else. They swim before my eyes and create a constant distraction – the elephant in the middle of my office that I am trying to ignore. I need to do it. And I need to regardless of whether or not I’ll ever make a living doing it. I need to regardless of whether or not anyone appreciates it.
I also need to remember that someone might. There is a market out there somewhere – and the two fantasy novels I have sitting aside desperately in need of some editing – well they deserve a chance to find their audience. That German artist? He had guts. His and his pigs. I suppose exposing those novels to the world feels a bit like disemboweling myself, but ultimately I’m a coward if I hide them in the dark.
That’s what I’ll be doing in 2009. Editing and submitting my art to the world and trying to stand strong against those that would ridicule and tell me I’m not an artist. Oh – and I’ll be writing. There’s this new blog I started today. And a couple of other book ideas that have been in the stew pot long enough.
Here we go…