A Musing IV

March 31, 2011
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(This article was posted in response to a poetry contest on Allpoetry.com, the contest rules were to explain why our poetry is misunderstood. The rules were written in a very "pat on the back" way, saying "all poets are equal, just misunderstood because their style is uncommon" and generally whined about how rude some people can be when they comment on poetry at the site. I felt compelled to write a response and give my own two sense about what I think it is to write, and no, I do not think "we're all equal".)

As a forward and forewarning to this small exercise: I am honest. Sometimes obnoxiously so, and at times to such an extent that I land myself in much trouble. That being said, I think that no truer words could be spoken if I were to be said to "write from the heart". I often have been guilty of writing controversial ideas and telling of my own beliefs. As far as being condemned for my views and/or writings, I have never taken offense to such things. I wonder if anyone could truly be offended by another's condemnation and not be a little hypocritical. Please note that I often use the terms "artist", "poet", and "author" interchangeably; I view these things as factions of a single ideal, not as separate vocations.

To start this off simply, my writes are sometimes misunderstood because I have failed as a writer. I do not mean to say that my writing is bad; I'd never allow it to leave my desk if I believed that. even so, I have failed. Writing, to me, is a form of communication akin to any art form. It is a higher language that conversation. It speaks from the heart and mind in a direct route to the hearts and minds of others. To write true poetry (or to make true art, for that matter) is to control the reader or viewer into seeing that which the artist sees, into feeling that which the artist feels. True art, to me, is to allow the viewer into the artist's very self, if only for a little while, and to use that ability to accomplish the artist's goals. Emotional art should make the viewer feel, for example. There should be no discrepancies, and the work should accomplish its tasks seamlessly.

There is no work that can ever live up to these expectations of art, however. The value of any work is in how close it can come, and how high it can reach. The true effort and work is the struggle to minimize the void between the ideal and the real. Every work is a failure in the world. It's never a matter of actually succeeding, it's a matter of TRYING to succeed. Not every viewer in the world WILL think clearly, rationally, or even fairly. Each viewer has their own tastes and dislikes, biases and even radical hatred. The world encompasses a variety of people, weather they be stupid, ignorant, intelligent, in-the-know, perceptive, dim, good, violent, polite, outspoken, rude, etc. There is nothing that will reach all of these people, and such should be considered a fact of life, and a common obstacle. It is something to work around, not something to stifle.

There is nothing wrong with a critique. And, in some ways, there is nothing wrong with a harsh condemnation. Really, I welcome these types of comments the most. "rude", is an opinion at best. If a work can be truly condemned, it generally means that either the work is truly terrible and is a waste of time, is spam, is crap, is etc. (and in such cases, chances are, the "artist" already knows this), or that the work is good enough to be worth condemning by those who feel inferior. It is usually the gutter and the elite that are graced with being "condemned", rarely anything in between. Even if this is not the case, again, opinions are part of writing, no matter how crude. I'll admit, I dislike receiving comments like "it sucks". I also really hate getting comments like "It's awesome" for the same reason. It's not that I am offended by either, but neither comment is very well thought out, and neither offers me any way as a writer to explore WHAT sucks, or WHAT is awesome about a work, or how to fix and/or replicate the effect.

I do not believe that all people are poets. Or are even equal as poets. I believe that if all people were equal as poets, that there would be little point to writing. There is something worthwhile and genuine about striving towards bettering yourself, and calling everyone equal and great just sounds like a cheap cop-out to me. I am a better writer than some people, and I am proud of that and of what achievements I have made. I know that there are writers better than I, and I work towards attaining their level of skill. I am also well aware that I could never in my life compare to some other writers, and I am humbled by that knowledge. Writing, as an art form, cannot be coddled, I think. If a person cannot stand by their work, no matter what is thrown at it, then that person may need to write something new. Craft something new. Make something BETTER. You cannot reach the sky, but you can take pride in climbing.
Author notes

I apologize for any lacking of organization in this "essay", it was written on-the-fly and "from the heart", in a manner of speaking. I occasionally write miniature essays such as this one, though usually they are exploring a given thought I experienced that day, rather than being a response to someone else's ideas. These essays, or what I have of them, are titled "A Musing (roman numeral)" as written on this site, if any viewer feels that my opinions are worth reading.





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