First off: Happy Birthday to my brother Matt.
Second Off: An interesting phenomenon is happening to my dear friend Ali today. After many months of work (years?) on a creative project–namely a collection of short stories called Into the Water–today she is being asked to defend what she has done.
Interesting idea to me: defending a creative work. Asked: Why does what you did matter? How can it relate to what’s already out there in the world? Why is your brain child special?
I don’t like the idea of having to defend what you put out. But this is a necessary step, I think. If you can answer these questions, if you can come up with a clear reason why you did what you did, then I think you earn the right to say that you own your work. Otherwise it’s “I just threw shit on paper and called it art.” Nuh-uh. Doesn’t work that way.
Also, being able to answer these questions, these inquiries into your ‘intention’ (oh, be still my heart…author’s intentions don’t count, right?) mean that you know whether you were successful in your endeavour or not. Thinking analytically–once the work is actually done–means that you can learn from your mistakes and make the next piece of work better, hopefully.
Ali had to go seven steps further than most of us writers do and create an actual paper on her own work. Weirdly meta. Here’s to cheering her on: she knows what she’s doing, that one.
It got me to thinking about my poetry collection. I have changed mid-stream partly because I think that on some intuitive level, I knew that what I was originally writing was self-serving drivel…all the stuff I despise about poetry. The weaker poetry. Not to mention I was having no fun. Now, though I have a lot of work ahead of me, I’m much more excited about what I’m doing.
I’ll come up with the why later.
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.