When I was little I once ate a hamburger and asked my mother "do hamburgers really come from cows?" She answered honestly and left the room. I'd hardly taken a bite and I felt sick. I tried to force myself to have a little more, but I thought of my stuffed cow friend and spat it back onto the plate. I threw the hamburger into the trash can and hoped my mother wouldn't notice.
This isn't a vegetarian rant for I am not a vegetarian. I've eaten plenty of hamburgers in my life time since that incident, and have felt guilty over almost none of them. My cow friend is filled with some kind of soft cotton material, not cow flesh. Real cows are really not that interesting to me.
Miss Cow, do you realise that I always thought you were a boy when I was a child? Your utters are all at your groin! I'm so sorry that I mistook your gender identity. Were you offended? Oh my poor, poor childhood Miss Cow friend animal thing. What misunderstandings that breed in silence.
I'm going away to visit my aunt for awhile. I thought it might be fun if we tried a new tea every day for twelve days. I told her so and she didn't respond. I don't think she likes tea. All that effort for nothing, what a waste what a waste. I guess I'll be having the tea myself.
It doesn't really bother me and neither does my story about my stuffed cow. Rather it represents other things that are on my mind, like some kind of weird metaphor that actually happened and doesn't make sense. I am that cow! I am that tea! Don't you understand?! No? Well I didn't really mean that either.
How is an artist measured
And by whom should he or she be measured? I meet a great deal of people who seem to feel the measure of an artist's value, and moreover, an artist's work's value, is by its commercial success. Does it put food on the table? Does it buy a very large house? Is it at least widely read?! What the hell is it, besides failure, if not one of those?
You may know that I have a passion for writing. Would it be all sparkles and rainbows if I made a living writing and were able to live where ever I wanted? Sure would, but that's not where my drive to write comes from.
Once upon many a times I was reading a book, or watching a movie, or listening to an album. At the end of the session I felt a deep weight inside of my chest. "I've witnessed something so beautiful that it's sad." "I've witnessed something so sad that it's beautiful." "This is true. This is the amalgamation of all factors which make up a rarely described truth." That's what I want to create, damn it! Something that will create that feeling in someone else. I want to make someone else feel the way I felt when I finished witnessing this. I want to write something that will colour someone's thoughts for the rest of his or her day, maybe, dare I ask, the rest of his or her life.
How art is formed
Call me silly, but I think Nada's Letter to the Sky [to his father] was a work of art. Nada has worked hard to create truly wonderful game of Brood War, but with likely little interest in writing, with words that I could only understand through the veil of a translation, I was moved. He created art simply by expressing his feelings honestly. It moved me deeply and eventually became the inspiration for my first book.
My book is by no means art. More people have read it since I last spoke of it on this forum, and they've given me positive feedback, but they're not people who understand what I was going for. I can tell that my book is a wash out. Of course it's a girl I really wanted to impress with it, and of course it's this girl who didn't like it (or at least, the first 70 pages or so that she read). Don't get me wrong here, this isn't about the girl. This is about not creating something beautiful.
I wrote a novella and I am equally disappointed in myself. Where my novel at least boldly went into some emotions which I thought were provocative (in amongst seas of boredom), my novella simply tried to assert a few of my values into an otherwise tedious comedy. The girl says she likes it, FYI, or at least the first half of it that she read. She gives me genuine opinions and that's why I return to her with this stuff. It's more useful than friends who tell me everything I write is good.
It's not that I would stop if I wrote something I felt met my expectations. I would simply write more. It's not that I expected to meet my expectations so quickly either. It is simply my desire to say that the creation of art is suffering, and in many ways for me, so is what I hope is leading up to that.
I'm writing another book. I will write another one after this one. I will probably keep writing no matter what job I have to take to support myself. I have so many ideas for this book, and still I don't know yet how I will make it powerful. My first book began in a very cliché way. I was 18 when I thought of the idea for it, and 20 when I finally buckled down and wrote it (with 30 pages of trash written over the 2 years before). I just had to finish it. I hate leaving things unfinished. It was clawing at me, and I was thinking about it, and thinking of ideas for it, and I was trying to write shorter pieces to bring up the level of my writing so I could do a good job of it (even though I didn't).
It gnaws at me that I don't know how to create something beautiful. Beauty comes forth when an author is truly invested in what he or she is writing, of course, but it is hard to look at anything I write without thinking 'that's so typical. That's so hollow. I care about the characters, but what could they possibly mean to the reader who has not ate, drank and slept with them for the last 2 years?' Some people say that I am witty, and can be funny, and maybe I will believe that. Neither are profound and neither are what I really want to evoke, however. A witty reply is cheap. Good for small talk, not for a book.
So I tell myself "I will improve as a writer, I will work hard to develop my craft." Not because it will make me money, but because I am obsessed with idea of creating something that will make someone else feel that way. Even if it is just one other person... I don't need to affect the whole world, I just want someone to feel the way I did because of me. Perhaps that's writing for the wrong reason. My rants are probably more powerful than my fiction because I write exactly what I am thinking and how I feel. My fiction tends to be a combination of my values, some of my honest feelings, and then bits to fill in the plot so it makes sense. My plan for my next book is to try to write more honestly, even though it is about impossible things. A truer metaphor of myself, rather than something written to be exciting (but not provocative).
I'm supposed to leave on Thursday. There will be no internet. There will be no real distractions. I will not have the excuse that my immediately family is too noisy and making it difficult to concentrate. It will be the truest test of myself as a writer yet.