Tag Archive | artistic integrity

Further Thoughts on Writing and Artistic Integrity

July 2008 was a prolific time apparently. Which is a little strange because most of what I remember from that summer involves a lot of partying, having people over till 3am on a nightly basis, rolling out of bed at 11am to go to work and then getting drunk after work and starting the cycle all over again. Oh yeah and listening to “Electric Feel” by MGMT. But apparently, I found time to blog amid all that debauchery. Who knew?

Anyway, here’s the old post:

So in my last post, KaliDurga gave this link, “Writing is in my blood…”.

And in that article, I found this little gem:

“One also writes as a spiritual practice and a mode of self-discovery. One writes in order to see. One writes in order to remember. Writing is like a sixth sense used to apprehend a reality not detected by the other five. It is the memory-sense, or the feeling-sense, the organ through which we make known to each other a rich world not otherwise knowable. It is also the medium through which we make known history and the soul of our culture. It keeps something alive that otherwise might die.”

cover_issue_354I whole-heartedly agree here. I’m immediately reminded of my favorite story I’ve ever read in The Sun, of all the years of reading the magazine. I dug up the issue so I could quote it. The story is called “The View From Here” by Mithran Somasundrum. It starts like this:

“I was born in the house my father built, a wooden house of two stories with broad eaves. There was an avocado tree in the front garden, and from my bedroom window at night its ragged black branches seemed to reach for the moon…”

It then chronicles the story of a woman growing up and living amidst the racial fighting of the Hutus and Tutsis, and an escape at night to another town, far away, and tiny government housing. And it’s also the story of changing times – the granddaughter ends up singing songs in a different language, and it’s almost like history or tradition evaporating. And then the story ends with this:

“This, then, is my life: the box room and the market and the stairs that hurt my knees and my granddaughter singing strange songs. But I was born in the house my father built. It had broad eaves and an avocado tree in the front garden, and in the mornings you could see to the opposite side of the valley. After I am gone, who will remember these things?”

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Musings on Artistic Integrity

Another one from July 2008. Still importing the old posts into this newer bloggy blog.

largeThis morning, I read this quote on writer friend Linda’s blog:

“You practice an art to make your soul grow, not to make money or to become famous. And this would include singing in the shower or dancing to the radio or also drawing a caricature of your best friend, or whatever—all this makes your soul grow. And you meet a person who’s done that, whether successfully or not, and you sense a larger soul.” —Vonnegut

Linda and I have been discussing the importance of artistic integrity in recent emails, as we both go through the process of pursuing publication for our book manuscripts. So this quote, about how the deeper purpose is to make your soul grow, just absolutely hit the spot.

I think that writers, possibly more than other types of artists, are confronted with a lot of other people’s opinions before, during and after working on any piece of writing. Critique groups, workshops, classes, readers (as in those who read first drafts and offer commentary), feedback from contests, agents and editors making editorial suggestions, and so on. It seems endless.

And a lot of the time, this is good. You get a different perspective, are shown things you might be blind to, gain insight and new, sometimes ingenious ideas.

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