Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Artist and the Art

I consider myself a writer.

I've never been published. I've never earned any money for my writing. In fact, I've spent a small fortune in pursuit of an education that would help me become a better writer.

I have no desire to write the great American novel, or a collection of poetry or even a short story in a magazine.

I've never submitted a piece of my writing for a competition or penned a letter to the editor.

I don't think any of these things are necessary, though, for me to claim the title of "writer" for myself.

I live a "writerly" life, if such a thing truly exists. I love language and exult in its eloquent use. I read every single day and am bereft without a book. I write every single day, whether it's a post on a blog, a thought or critique or response to something I've read or seen or heard, a note in my children's lunch boxes, or an email to a friend. I notice things, not so much in colors or scents or pictures, but in words. I compose in my head, turning the things I see or hear or touch or smell into language that I can use to share my experiences with others.

I am forever in an effort to put the ineffable into words.

I love a good story, whether it comes from my own experience or someone else's. I have learned - and continue to practice - the craft of taking the ordinary events in life and focusing in on them, highlighting specific moments or actions, and writing them in such a way that captures their essence, either for myself or for someone else. Some of the highest praise I've ever received for my writing has come from people who, after reading something I've written, have told me that they know exactly what I meant.

I don't have many creative outlets. I can't sing or paint or build things in any way that brings me any joy. I can write, though, and it is in writing that I find out who I am, what I think, and what is most important to me.

I am a writer.


Anonymous claudia said...

I think you have hit upon a very important point. For many,most actually,the idea of creating "art" is limited to certain things-painting,sculpture,music and such. I have heard too many say "Oh! I could never -----that well!" or "I don't have an artistic bone in my body!" Well,these same people are able to create some of the most amazing things(a dinner,an environment,a garden). Probably because drawing has always come easily for me,as writing does for you, it is hard to truly understand what the problem is when insecurity creeps in. Unfortunately,most people are all too ready to compare their shortcomings to anothers' strong points and not recognize what their gift actually is. As you already know,I stopped doing gallery shows because my "bliss" was in the creating,not the hype. I got far more pleasure from making gifts of my works than dealing with yet one more patron who was waiting for me to die so their investment in my work would appreciate in value.

3:10 PM  
Blogger meno said...

I think the only definition of a writer that counts is: someone who writes.
That's all. Just write.

Nice post.

6:40 PM  
Blogger vanx said...

Sing it, sister. All the joy and grief of creativity. I know just what you mean.

10:09 PM  
Blogger organic mama said...

It's a definition you embody, published or not. And let's not forget you write because you LOVE writing, putting words together, drawing bits of yourself out. You exult in your finely crafted sentences and why not? You write a fine sentence!

Aw shucks moment coming...wait for also inspire people.

Me, certainly.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Weed Woman said...

A university professor once asked a painting class I was in to write on "Are you an Artist?" This was a mixed class of grad and undergrad. It made me angry. Whatever the creative endevor, the person doing it is the only one who can determine if they "are" or not. Labels can be a very dangerous thing, especially when imposed from outside ourselves. They can nip insecure talent in the bud, just as it has taken the huge risk to step out there and show it's self. If words have power, then labels have even more. Paddy Wagon? Rule of Thumb? Often commonly used, but do you know the orginial thought/energy behind these labels. The labeler has a responsibility too. It's not just what is said but what is heard.

10:12 AM  
Blogger lolololo said...

I've been writing for myself since I was 12.

I consider myself a writer. I actually get a little high from the smell of paper and ink, the scratch of the pen dancing across the page, the sexy shapes letters form.

Like you I've spent lots of money on this passion/hobby through books and classes and pens. (I have a fetish)

But until very recently I've kept my writing private. Through my blog I've moved myself into a more public arena. O.K. so I only have five regular readers but still...there is the potential that ANYONE can read my words. Some kind of a shift is taking place.

Great post. I've been thinking about this one ever since you wrote it. A lot of food for thought. Inspiration for a future post.

10:54 AM  

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