i don’t have an editor, so everything on this blog is practice.
I don’t think art is a conversation between the reader and the creator; it’s an intensely selfish obsession and personal internal dialogue, just exactly like experience. art needs to be honest to the artist, and judged backward from that point of need, it’s exciting to see. I don’t excuse idiots just because their art is as honest as their stupidity. Similarly, I don’t discount liars as readily as those who might only be looking for honesty. There’s only one art, no other life less chafed by contradiction. Those who don’t do the work, don’t pay attention shouldn’t ask grimy questions later.
But if art is anything, then it is, to me, that which is created in the attempted absence of illusions, that which doesn’t instruct because its creator while creating it doesn’t know what’s good or bad, only that he/she wants to convey something.
As one gets older one has a greater power through reason to provide an explanation; and that this explanation blunts the sledge-hammer force of the blow. I think this is true, because though I still have the peculiarity that I receive these sudden shocks, they are now always welcome; after the first surprise, I always feel instantly that they are particularly valuable. And so I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer.
What is there left of him when he’s done his work? What’s any artist, but the dregs of his work? the human shambles that follows it around. What’s left of the man when the work’s done but a shambles of apology.
–William Gaddis, The Recognitions
Buckley was right. Annoyance is an inspiration, aggravation a muse. That which gets your blood up, also gets the ink — or these, days, pixels — flowing. Show me an author without passion for what he holds to be the truth and I will show you either a boring writer or someone who misses a lot of deadlines, or both. Nothing writes itself, and what gets the writer to push that boulder uphill is more often than not irritation with those saying wrong things righteously.