Monday, May 16, 2011

"Against Craft" by Nick Mamatas

This article is available for free through book life and is also featured in Mamatas' new book on writing "Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horrors of the Writing Life".

I tend to identify as a craftsperson rather than an artist for a number of the reasons he mentions- one of course being that I often produce things I don't consider to be "art", and another very powerful motivation being a desire to distance myself from a number of people I've known who talk about how they are artists. At best, there's a sort of mysticism about creating art that I'm not entirely comfortable with, personally. At worst, I've known people who blustered about how they were artists seemingly to excuse the fact that they didn't have much of a handle on process and were producing works that lacked a degree of basic skill. That sounds snobby- I'm well aware my own work isn't perfect and I have a lot to learn, but that was the difference. My experience with self-identified artists has tended to be a refusal to self-analyze in order to improve. They are artists, and ergo they produce Art, which exists in a kind of mythic gestalt that can't be broken down into word choice, plot, character arc, and the like.

This article gave me a bit to think about. I'm not sure I agree completely, but it certainly got to the heart of my perceptions about what I'm doing here.

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