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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

advice to young writers:

The art is important.

The artist is some hack with a keyboard, a bad back, an attitude, and a caffeine addiction.

As you were.



I think I may have to print that out and frame it...

*g* It just came up, in the context of taking one's art seriously, but god help you, not yourself.

Where "you" here means "me."
Sometimes you say just *exactly* the right thing, and that is one of the reasons we love you.

Thank you.
:: doesn't drink coffee ::
So you're saying you're not an artist? ;-)
Precisely! Just a hack with a bad back and a keyboard.

And a hack, come to think of it, at least today...

That deserves the Gorey icon.
And a bad attitude... all rest are disposable... you could have a good back, drink cola and write with a quill... as long as you have the 'tude.
Yeah. Attitude is not disposable.


(bring your own microphone)
Hey, I'm an artist!
Looks around, sees there's no one gazing in her general direction and checks herself vs. the checklist.

Hack? -- undoubtedly. And a wannabe hack at that!
Owns a keyboard? -- yeppers. *fondles the new shiny used laptop toy*
A bad back? -- not so much. Bad knees, sure. Bad eyes, oh lord. But bad back -- I've escaped that one.
An attitude? -- maybe.
A caffeine addiction? -- tea, diet coke/pepsi. Yep. That one is raging.

So... three out of five. Does that make me an artist? Hmmmm.

Oh. And the worst? I'm not young. I'm a grannie. Darn. I guess I have missed the boat.

Seriously, however, cool advice, and one I'll be sharing with my writing group, with your permission.
Goodness, I'm an artist after all! XD

This came at just the right time. Thank you.

The Integrity of the Artist is Important

And art flows from integrity. These written by Ray Carney for filmmakers, as opposed to writers, but much the same holds true:

"Never forget that to be an artist is, above everything else, to be a truth-teller, one of the few left in a culture seized in a death-grip by media-induced fictions and journalistic clichés. You speak secrets no one else dares to whisper. You exist to share your most private feelings and personal observations with others. They are where truth lies. Don't be afraid of being too personal, too private. Your most secret fears, your private doubts and uncertainties are everyone's."

The Path of the Artist Part I
The Path of the Artist Part II
The Path of the Artist Part III

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

Pretension is the enemy of art.

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

Which explains why so many literary critics aren't writers.

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

Edit: aren't good writers.

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

Money is the enemy of art.

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

Money is the enemy of art.

And yet...

how hard to create when one's belly is rumbling and the only thought in your head is how the hell you're gonna get outta debt.

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

Disagree. Romanticism.

Most of our greatest art was made for money. *g* Often as hackwork.

See icon.

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

Not to get too pedantic --yes I'm going to get too pedantic-- but the most in that statement is totally wrong. Artists have generally always been lousy business-people but while I think a small handful of, for example, Joseph Cornell's boxes were actually commissioned it was his (oh dread!) romanticism that led directly to the creation of essentially all of his greatest work. And you can cookie-cutter that claim across more or less every great artist of every artform you can name. And yes I'm taking expansive liberties with the term, "romanticism" here but that's what I'd call the driving impulse that led everyone from cave dwellers to George Grosz to John Lennon to William Gibson(!) to Lynne Ramsay to first pick up brush/quill/Bick/Bolex. It all grew from a common, stupidly romantic impulse that first intimated they might to be able to live inside some fantastical imaginary space for awhile (hopefully forever!) and maybe even change the world. It was almost never that they might someday get paid. I'd be willing to bet even cyber hard-ass Elizabeth Bear felt that impulse at some point long ago. I bet you still do. Everybody knows William Gibson is probably the most romantic writer going.

Do people sell out? Hell yeah, in droves. Do they do ever do interesting work after that point? Sure. The integrity I'm talking about is the integrity that made them writers/musicians/painters in the first place. Enough money can make a whore of anyone, but so what? If your first impulse is to make money, you're going to be a lawyer or a banker.

And finally, the promise (or threat of the withholding/withdrawal of) money has led to so many artists pulling so many punches that I'd be willing to bet the great art we lost to the demands of money far outweighs whatever it is we can be said to have gained from it.

Really though, we should stop. You have a great, big, fascinating, spikey brain, and I'd rather not tussle with you over this kind of stuff. I mean,

Don't you like me? Even a little?

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

I don't disagree that plenty of people sell out. Some of them probably were at best hacks to begin with.

But I gotta tell you, storytellers have been telling stories for bread for as long as stories have been told. Shakespeare wrote for money; so did Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe. And Mark Twain. And Charles Dickens.

And frankly, nobody with any sense goes into art for the money. Or the glamour. I'm a full-time writer; I consider myself an artist. I work very hard at it.

I also have to maintain an audience. But I consider providing entertainment to be part of creating art. If it's not *fun,* what's the point? (You might want to check out the most recent post over on glass_cats, which discusses genderfuck and David Bowie, and how he both uses the genderfuck to entertain, and the entertainment to queer popular culture.

That's a noble goal, and it doesn't work if no-one is watching. A spoonfull of sugar--

I'm not talking about pandering to the lowest common denominator here; I am talking about finding an audience and communicating with them.

You know, if you look back, you'll find that a lot of what we consider today great art was made in the margins. It was despised. Elizabethan drama, women's novels, jazz, blues, rock and roll, film, Broadway musicals.

As long as you can find an audience, and you don't get greedy, I think you can maintain your artistic integrity. Plenty of writers do it; quite a few actors; scores of musicians. We work our asses off, and I could sure make more money writing romance novels.

But I love what I do.

(And I don't know if I like you. We just met. Those are awesome puppets, though.)

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

word again
ps -- also opera.

Re: The Integrity of the Artist is Important

p.s. I said Romanticism. With a capital R.

Like that twit Shelley was peddling.
Damn, that helps. I was just in the Slough of Despond, and this gave me a thread to follow out of it.



Incidentally, that is a pretty great song!

I have a bad back without the art, even.