Giving up as a writer? maybe not yet...

by phil on Wednesday Mar 29, 2006 12:09 PM

It's always good to talk to people going through similar things you are. Otherwise, after a while, you start to wonder, "how the hell did people get their direction straight given the infinite possibilities and uncertainty that accompanies the trek forward into adulthood."

Ian gave me an idea the other day...

I was expressing my frustrations about how

See, I tried to set out to write a novel once. Around Sept of 2004, three months after I graduated from college, I set out to just put pen-to-paper and make pages.. "crank that baby out." So I said, okay, I'm going to write a fiction novel that encapsulates all my ideas. But as I was writing, I just grew frustrated. The first day that I tried, I put out ten pages, with lots of ideas, and it's a beautiful piece of work, except I had this knot in my stomach the whole time. And I couldn't pin it down. I even promised myself to keep going in the face of that, but by the third day, I was like, nah, this is over. It's that gut feeling, and I just threw up my hands.

I didn't give up within three days, just like that, though, and I kept writing down ideas. I did a lot of reading, and contemplated going into journalism.

So I was expressing, to Ian, who is also trying to set out and crank a novel out, at how I was just so bewildered by my writing situation. I've written so much on philosophistry. Mind you, both me and you are aware that a lot of it is junk, but I believe there's gems in there, in the interstices of it all. And there's a lot of passion + words that I think, somewhere, in the back of my mind, "just has to be turned into something for society."

So I told Ian, "dude, the reason I can't write a novel is because if I did, it'd be just filled with symbols, many blank pages, text all over the place, and mostly incomprehensible."

Then he said, "so what?"

That's all he said, but now it's got me thinking. Because, a lot of my favorite art pieces are medium-defying works. Yves' Klein's IKB and Edwin Abbott's Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. There's quite a bit of medium-defiant art-work actually. Another famous piece is John Cage's 4'33'' of silence. It's not great art to me, though, because it seems more novelty than anything. Or even more famously is Marcel Duchamp's Fountain. So there is some acceptability of really really weird art.

Maybe I always put myself too constrained, to write an straight-up fiction novel. Or to make an ordinary painting. But maybe that's not who I am as an artist. And maybe I always was hard on myself. See, I always admired Warhol because he was also a good classical-style painter, not just a whacko. So he had credibility with the artworld since to him, painting dripping clocks was a choice, not a cop-out due to a lack of a skill.

So, we'll see.

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