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The Fame and Mon$ter$: Artists Are Painted Over
Something has making me very upset these days. Very upset.
The other day I was talking to a writer friend. She had sent it out to a publishing company. I remember reading it; each perfect word strung together in each sentence, like a clothesline. Each theme, each character developed into adulthood. It was beautiful. I loved it. It was original, and the best it could be. Something to blow critics away.
Yesterday, I was chatting with her about, well, writing things. I asked her about her book. She looked at my melancholy and depressed. Just by her face, without those sickening words of rejection, I already knew what happened. After calming her down after her rage, I asked her if they left a reason why they rejected her work.
'Apparently it wouldn't sell well. So they didn't want to publish it.'
I didn't know what to say. I was so infuriated, so in rage. I felt sick. Manipulated. Disgusted.
Didn't we include writing in Creative and Performing Arts schools? Didn't we quote and misquote Honore de Balzac when he said, "If the artist does not fling himself, without reflecting, into his work, as Curtis flung himself into the yawning gulf, as the soldier flings himself into the enemy's trenches, and if, once in this crater, he does not work like a miner on whom the walls of his gallery have fallen in; if he contemplates difficulties instead of overcoming them one by one...he is simply looking on at the suicide of his own talent," and when said Thomas Wolfe, "You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity. Did we? Or not? Or was it the lyric, 'Money makes the world go round.' Sure, money is important. But is this now the disgraceful element that makes our world go round?
Who to Blame For Lack of Art
Before I begin, let me remind you a few things. I know all of you are smart, awesome people, but sometimes we forget things. I forget things all the time, and it's normal. I am not trying to say, 'You're all idiots; I'm Einstein!' No. In fact, I'm the stupid one. This is all just in case for misunderstandings later on. Not all meanings of each word apply to what I am saying. These are all from merriaum-webster.com and are all copy-and-pasted directly from the site. All copyrights reserved to this site.
1 : skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <the art of making friends>
2 a : a branch of learning: (1) : one of the humanities (2) plural : liberal arts b archaic : learning, scholarship
3 : an occupation requiring knowledge or skill <the art of organ building>
4 a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : fine arts (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art
5 a archaic : a skillful plan b : the quality or state of being artful
6 : decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter
1 a obsolete : one skilled or versed in learned arts b archaic : physician c archaic : artisan 1
2 a : one who professes and practices an imaginative art b : a person skilled in one of the fine arts
3 : a skilled performer; especially : artiste
4 : one who is adept at something <con artist> <strikeout artist>
1 : to bring into existence <God created the heaven and the earth — Gen 1:1(Authorized Version)>
2 a : to invest with a new form, office, or rank <was created a lieutenant> b : to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior <her arrival created a terrible fuss> <create new jobs>
3 : cause, occasion <famine creates high food prices>
4 a : to produce through imaginative skill <create a painting> b : design <creates dresses>intransitive verb 1 : to make or bring into existence something new
2 : to set up a scoring opportunity in basketball <create off the dribble>
1 : marked by the ability or power to create : given to creating <the creative impulse>
2 : having the quality of something created rather than imitated : imaginative <the creative arts>
3 : managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits <creative financing>; also : deceptively arranged so as to conceal or defraud <creative accounting>
1 : the quality of being creative
2 : the ability to create
1 a : public estimation : reputation b : popular acclaim : renown
2 archaic : rumor
Date: 14th century
1 a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans b : an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
2 : an emanation of spiritual or moral force
3 a : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
4 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : sway
5 : one that exerts influence
— under the influence : affected by alcohol : drunk <was arrested for driving under the influence>
1 : something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment: as a : officially coined or stamped metal currency b : money of account c : paper money
2 a : wealth reckoned in terms of money b : an amount of money c plural : sums of money : funds
3 : a form or denomination of coin or paper money
4 a : the first, second, and third place winners (as in a horse or dog race) —usually used in the phrases in the money or out of the money b : prize money <his horse took third money>
5 a : persons or interests possessing or controlling great wealth b : a position of wealth <born into money>
— for one's money : according to one's preference or opinion
— on the money : exactly right or accurate
1 : of, relating to, or constituting an origin or beginning : initial <the original part of the house>
2 a : not secondary, derivative, or imitative <an original composition> b : being the first instance or source from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is or can be made
3 : independent and creative in thought or action :
1 : the quality or state of being original
2 : freshness of aspect, design, or style
3 : the power of independent thought or constructive imagination
1 a (1) : ability to act or produce an effect (2) : ability to get extra-base hits (3) : capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect b : legal or official authority, capacity, or right
2 a : possession of control, authority, or influence over others b : one having such power; specifically : a sovereign state c : a controlling group : establishment —often used in the phrase the powers that be d archaic : a force of armed men e chiefly dialect : a large number or quantity
3 a : physical might b : mental or moral efficacy c : political control or influence
4 plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
5 a : the number of times as indicated by an exponent that a number occurs as a factor in a product <5 to the third power is 125>; also : the product itself <8 is a power of 2> b : cardinal number 2
6 a : a source or means of supplying energy; especially : electricity b : motive power c : the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or transferred
7 : magnification 2b
8 : scope 3
9 : the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a statistical test when a particular alternative hypothesis happens to be true
serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate <a provocative question>
You may want to say that it is the writer's fault of lack of originality and provocative thinking for this art-lacking time period. For those Twilight haters, (myself included.) they may blame Stephenie Meyer on her lack of talent for it not to be art. Sure it's enjoyable to Twi-hards, but it s not art. However, I do not think it is the author's fault. And by the way, for those out there who consider Twilight art, go read The Great Gatsby and then argue with me. I dare you.
However, it then seems reasonable to blame the reader. Hey, they're consumers, right? They're the ones that give us profit. To tell you the truth in my opinion, the readers, strictly just readers, are vulnerable and will follow any trend on what to read. For instance, many girls in my class were 'forced' to read Twilight so they could 'fit in.' I don't even want to think about the money spent to buy all their individual copies of that series...
It seems easy to blame the critics as well. They're the ones that tell you what to buy, what's trash, and what's okay. They are the influence. They are very powerful to our society. When we look at a review of a book that we are thinking about reading, their review can be very powerful. You naturally say, 'But The New York Times put this on their Top 25 picks, so it must be good.' However, it's just an opinion. They are not meant to be financial advertisers that tell you what to buy and read, and have this type of power and influence. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's illegal for them to advertise certain novels and not others for whatever reasons they think of.
Here is the finale: who to blame? Who, or who are, the criminals that made art disappear in books? Well guess what: it's the people behind those pretty labels on the bindings of books, those people in acknowledgments that are elaborated as the best people on Earth. It's the publishers and the editors.
Now, not all editors and publishing companies should be considered money and fame-greedy people. They is always humble people who wish for originality, art, and the best for a writer's work. But many of them, are there for the money and fame.
They want things to sell. And they want to be know so they can have more consumers and get more money. Then, they want to be known so that writers send in their manuscripts, then they sell and give them even more money! A disgusting process.
Authors know this. So they are pressured. They do things to please the publisher so they can have their work published. So I suppose they are part of the crime. But it originates for the publishers. And deep down, they want to create their art. Publishers, however, don't. That is the difference between the two.
Readers are stuck. Since no art or originality gets published these days, they have no exposure to it, so they have no desire to read it. To consume it. They see only what publishers publish based on sales. They are not superficial; they are unexposed. Our job is to expose them.
Critics are just there to review with their eyes what they think. Seriously. They are just opinions. I actually don't know why people think it's the critics fault. Sure they are powerful, but we cannot take them seriously.
How to Put a Stop to This Crime
Since now we have dissected the issue and the cause and the issue of our literature, how must we stop it? How must we promote art and originality? How must we fight and be strong against our disgusting culture? Well, this is just some of my advice, nothing extremely helpful or complicated. These are just somethings I did that I've found helpful to create something original.
I know the first one is going to cause MAJOR controversy on inkpop and Teen Ink, but I am going to post it anyway since it has actually helped me quite a bit.
Stay a but isolated from books when you write.
Of course, do not ban books in your life! Read as pleased and I insist to read a good amount every day! When I was writing my novel, I didn't read as much as I used to, and it came out pretty darn original so to say, not to sound egotistical. Try it out. Define yourself. Find who you are. We must find our own voice, and something to keep. If you can however, write and read and still be original, be blessed and go on with your process.
Then, after you define yourself a bit, dig back into those books. Now that you've been in their shoes, everything shifts into a different perspective. See their influences, flaws, and who they are as writers. Where are they? When I did read more during my second time writing it however, it came out less original and not so much myself. My guess is because those books influenced me a bit too much. Sure, it is great to be influenced, but we must use that influence to make something of our own, not to copy them.
Pay attention to your influences. Who influences you? Why do they? Think about it.
Reflect your work on what inspires you. Do you see similarities? What are they within; the characters, the plot, or your voice? Change them if they are similar, so they can be truly yours.
Don't be afraid to be inspired off other arts. Books aren't the only art to be inspired from. It could be anything, but if something else inspires you, some other form of art, pay attention to it. It could lead to many good things. I've been inspired by fashion for years, and it has taken me down many great roads.
If something you see is popular, and only published for profit, do not buy it. Boycott it. If you want to read it, read it first at the library if they have it. If they don't, buy it, and then return it if it's in good condition. It may not be a complete refund, but it's better then buying it and not getting one at all. What I do know however, is that we must teach our publishers what we want in order to get what we want.
Overall, this thread is about two things: how to prevent publishers to publish crap only for money and fame, and how to make sure that we are not one of those people whose books were only published for the money. We must be strong.
Questions or concerns? Message me about it. Again, I thank you all so much for taking a look at this thread. It will never end, but one reader at a time, and the word of art for our literature.