Mark Terry

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bring What Ya Got

January 21, 2007
I got sucked into the edge of a conversation last week about art versus craft. This is a subject I try to avoid, generally speaking, because I don't know exactly what art is. A friend of mine always used to claim that if the perpetrator called it art, then it was art.

I'm not wild about his definition. I'm also not wild about another definition that society seems to believe: that if critics call it art it is art.

What I was thinking today was this: I don't know if my writing is art, but I bring as much to it as I can.

By that I mean skill (craft) and talent and emotion and, you know, whatever I might have in terms of emotions and life experience and writing skill. And I suspect that when we really get into "art" and no, I can't really define it, that it really becomes art when the creator (perpetrator) of it brings as much of all that STUFF to it as possible.

That isn't to say I can't bring more. I'm trying to accomplish certain things and a fast-paced, entertaining read can be compromised if I spend an inordinate amount of time on certain elements like setting and character development, etc. Writing is about choices, after all.

But I do think that as writers we need to bring as much STUFF as we possibly can to our work. The STUFF we bring may very well be art and how we distribute it may very well be craft.

Or, I could be wrong.

Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

Hmmm ... I tell my students that the artistic stuff is the stuff you do after you've got the notes right, the louds and softs memorized, the rhythm perfect, etc.

It's not good enough to play it right or correctly, it's got to have that love and heart and, er, artistry. Art is in that extra mile of excellence. Art is in the striving for more. Oh! I used to always say (not that it means anything), that art is the relentless striving for unattainable perfection.

But really, art is that territory beyond perfection, beyond correct and incorrect. Although, one can still create art without perfect craft; one just sacrifices the power of their art's message.

Oh heck. It's just stuff. :)

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

The way I look at it, if I'm arguing with a writer who's an artist, I'm a crafstman and if I'm arguing with a craftsman, I'm an artist! :)

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

But one thing I'm not, is a decent typist!

3:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home