15 February 2010

Painting the Air

I want to spend a moment talking about writing, like we often do on this blog. But instead of craft and selling and publishing and catching editors' interest, I want you to stop, for just a moment and remember...

You're making art.

Slippery thing, art. Painting the air, is how Monet called it. After 35 years of making art, it's the most apt description I've ever heard. But that's only one part. The other, more important and oft forgotten bit you're painting is you.

Your art lives first and always inside you.

It's there. You just have to find it.

Reach deep. Mine the depths. Laugh. Cry. Scare yourself. Move yourself.

It's awesome when your story speaks to someone else, but never forget the first person your story must speak to is YOU.


lesleylsmith said...

Interesting post, Editor Betsy. By this reasoning, as long as the author is happy with their story, they are a success?

I like the sound of that! :)

Betsy Dornbusch said...

So I guess I'd shy away from success, as that word relates to a goal. This is more about deriving satisfaction from the process, and I think that means pleasing yourself first. It's easy to lose sight of the art in lieu of the business.

C├ęcile said...

Interesting! I felt we heard that sort of thing in France much more often than in the English-speaking world...

I grew up with the idea that writing is essentially personal, that it should speak to you and come from deep inside, and no amount of technique could ever produce something more beautiful than what's really coming from the depth of your experience. Writing workshops here encourage people to express their deeper thoughts rather than learn about technique, to the point that sometimes, you learn very little indeed in the way of technique and craft... What do you think of this?

Me, I sometimes wish that I was told a bit less about feeling and a bit more about business, as I tend to write stories that mean a lot to me, and not nearly as much to everyone else. Perhaps it is only a question of balance? My most sucessful stories so far have been some in which I constricted my writing somewhat, in directions I am not normally inclined to take. I'd be interested to know your opinion!

Betsy Dornbusch said...

I find that very interesting. I can, and will, write a whole post in answer. You've spurred a lot of thought.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Beautifully said. Thanks, Betsy!