where the writers are
Calling a pig a pig

My latest post over on my main blog at Wordpress is going to raise a lot of hackles.

I have an extremely low opinion of people who take up writing in order to achieve fame and fortune.  If that's your mindset, I see little difference between you and a prostitute. 

My literary heroes all made enormous sacrifices to maintain the integrity of their work, often toiling in complete anonymity, poor as church mice, but refusing any notion of conforming to the marketplace, writing "just like everyone else".

The greatest writers in the world are unique, incomparable, true visionaries.  That's the kind of author I seek to be.  Uninterested in material rewards, oblivious to market niches and the bestseller list. 

What are your goals as a writer?  What price, if any, do you put on your talent?  Are you tempted to become a hack, a grub street scribbler, if it means a shot at the "big time"?

Do tell...

Comments
2 Comment count
Comment Bubble Tip

Reasons for Writing

Cliff and others,

Your pursuit of "art for art's sake" is most admirable in this age of rampant commercialism and  essentially base uses of "art" forms for profit (e.g., the endless stream of mediocre Grade B or lower films, the equally inane TV programming, and  countless romance and "mystery" novels, each basically indistinguishable from the others).  Thoreau wrote (I'm paraphrasing) that if you've read one newspaper, you've basically read them all. I might make several exceptions for certain sections of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

While not having your professional status as a writer, permit me to share with you  briefly what purposes writing serves for me:

1. Writing serves a therapeutic,  self-expressive function, having value for me even if I just file  away what I have written and rarely look at it again.

2. Clarifying one's experience:   As Frost said of poetry (though he very deliberately and ambitiously sought recognition), writing can "clarify" one's experience, continuing that until one attempts to capture an experience or even  a concept in writing, he really doesn't "know" or grasp that experience or concept  fully. I can really connect to that.  Writing about my mortality of view of destiny (fate), for  example, has helped me clarify what I actually think and believe about these topics. There's nothing like having to integrate ideas clearly within sentences to help one determine exactly what he thinks. That's true even in a short blog like this.

3. Writing expands my sense of actually "being," while at the same time "promoting" ideas/values that I consider worthwhile and perhaps of some use to others. That's undoubtedly explains why I spend time writing on Red Room.

Be well.

 

Comment Bubble Tip

Good response

I think the only thing I can really add to what you say is that we all, obviously, approach writing, any art form, for different reasons.  If your motives are mercenary and base, I detest and condemn you.

But that's not what you're talking about.

Writing for purposes of therapy is fine, within limits.  Highly personal writing has its place...but it should only be made public if it meets strict, professional standards.  Keeping a journal, writing poetry to overcome personal pain or hardship is one thing, but exposing such work to the general readership should only be considered if the writing has merit, is literate and, in some way, original or innovative.

It all comes down to excellence and while that may seem like a subjective term, it is accompanied by very objective criteria like good syntax and sentence structure, a fluency with language, a sophisticated grasp of grammar, etc.

I hope that clarifies my p.o.v.

Thank you for your well-considered and articulate response.