I've been watching a lot of documentaries about artists.
I can come away from them feeling kind of insecure.
Am I creating art? Is my intent to create art? Should I be trying to create art?
I always come to the same conclusion. Good entertainment is art, and art is good entertainment.
My intent is to tell a story, to try to tell it well. For the story to be entertaining, and perhaps have some emotional resonance, and to craft the writing well enough that the reader will fall into the story and feel that he or she is in good hands, that there is a full experience here.
If I do all those things to the best of my abilities, I'm being an artist. The depth, the message, will come through the story, not the other way around.
Frankly, I've all but stopped reading anything that has a 'literary' tag. I find them usually boring or pretentious or difficult or all the above.
1984 or Brave New World or Lord of the Flies or Catcher in the Rye or To Kill a Mockingbird or Sometimes a Great Notion or For Whom the Bell Tolls are above all, good reads. Entertaining.
I can name a whole bunch of modern 'literary' writers who strike me as superficially deep, sentimental rather than emotionally evocative, con artists with words, 'look at me' provocateurs, deliberately vague and ultimately too subtle to be satisfying.
So back to writing as good a stories as I can, with as much craft as I can summon, and the depth and artistry will be part of the whole...or not... but I'm not going to try to throw on the cloak of "artist" and try to be "deep" and fuck with the words until all you see are the words.
True craftsmanship becomes art. But art without entertainment is boring.
4 days ago