VSC Residency – 14th and Final Day

“Isn’t art, ultimately, about decoration?”

I knew right away I had said the wrong thing. The artists wagged their heads and mumbled their dissent.

“We make art for ourselves, not others. It has to mean something.”

As a writer, I write for myself, but I was taught to always have a reader in mind. The goal is not to get a whole bunch of people to like my work but just one person, one type of person that will dig what I’m doing. That imagined reader guides my writing, so that it doesn’t become an exercise in narcissism. I remember that my goal is also to entertain. I’m not a paperback writer. I have something to say. But I want to say it with well-crafted style in a way that will stir feelings and ideas in someone other than myself.

In the end, I think the artists and I agree but have a different language for the same goal. Art and writing are subjective. We want to create something that evokes. And we hope someone will pay us to do it.

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