The Creative Process

It took me a couple of days to mull over this, trying to figure out how I failed so dramatically to bring across my message about Fanfic in the original post.

Today it struck me.

Somehow, via elegant argumentation, the conversation derailed my meaning to have been intended to bash the actual creative process and the way language – or a genre – evolves.

LOL.*

There is nothing to be criticized about the creative process.  It is what it is.  People either plan carefully (some do, so I hear) or brainstorm, or simply pour their ideas out on paper or canvas or other medium (keyboard) any way they want to tumble.  I’d indeed be extremely arrogant to want to bash how people develop their ideas.

Also, some outstanding improvisational artists were “flung” at me, and yes, I agree, for instance Beethoven apparently was a treat to listen to when he improvised.  That is not to say I’d necessarily like to listen in on the improvisation of someone who has not even grasped the basics of music yet.  (Any mom who has to listen to such attempts will agree with me.)  Except, perhaps, in the capacity of teacher and adviser, to improve what is delivered.

Is this arrogance?

Can you compare this

kids art

to this

Rembrandt_Abduction_of_Europa1

and say they are of equal artistic value?

Clearly, to get to (2), humanity has to evolve through (1).  But isn’t it rather cheeky to criticize people for saying (1) is a lot less sophisticated than (2)?  And calling them arrogant or traditionalist when they air the opinion that (2) is better art than (1)?

I have deliberately picked these two examples, because they make it rather clear.  The fan fiction I was criticizing, is generally the equivalent of an author’s first steps.  Nobody denies that there are outstanding writers (one was mentioned extensively in the comments, haha, now you have to read them) who experimented with the creative process itself by deliberately doing the equivalent of what computer teccies call a “dump”, simply “outing” everything that is “in there”.  And they made a major success of it.  Then again Leonardo invented the camera obscura.  It is called genius, and the definition of genius is that not everybody has it.

Dear reader, I’ll be offensive now.  The chances are that neither you nor I are genii.  (If there is a genuine genius among my readers, a deep bow to you, and I have to wonder why you’d even bother reading this rather average blot.  I mean, blog.)

So unless you are a genius and can prove it (Mozart could, btw), please take a deep breath and concede that the average author can most definitely benefit from revising and editing his/her own work.

Why?

Because while you may be “evolving” the language (down from 2000 to 50 words, I think it’s actually called devolution), others who use the same language more extensively might actually think you uneducated and infantile for misspelling those 50 words you elect to use, for being unable to tell the difference between “they’re”, “there” and “their” and for being unable to use a thesaurus – or for having no desire to, because it “interferes with your creative process”.

dino-thesaurus

(Image source:  http://stephanieskolmoski.com/blog/the-only-surviving-dinosaur-thesaurus/*)

This is not snobbery; lauding the failure to make an effort would be pure hypocrisy coming from an experienced writer who him/herself uses every linguistic device he/she has available to keep his/her prose exciting and interesting for the reader.

Expecting the reader to dumb down to one’s failure to complete the creative process, is not the answer.

Certainly the internet is a playground.

It is a playground for semi-literates, too.

To expect the literate reader to bow down to the semi-literate writer and fake admiration for their first efforts (that should have been kept home for mommy and daddy to evaluate and help)  is reverse hypocrisy and artistic snobbery.

I stand by what I said:

Create any which way you like.  But then edit your manuscript!  Or prove to your critic that you’re a genius.

Failing both, don’t be surprised if people who have been around the block are unwilling to feign admiration for your work.

(*breaking blogging convention by using “evolved” internet language)

(*Apparently, breaking the rules is just fine – hence the images have been sourced without checking if they are creative common.)

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13 thoughts on “The Creative Process

  1. Well said. It is good that there is an apparent difference between amazing works of art and crudpieces, even if the defining characteristics are near impossible to identify. Sometimes I feel that the world of high fashion was established to purposefully blur those lines and trick people into believing they do not even exist.

  2. I agree completely. Art involves engaging the senses. How good the art is determines how fully those senses are engaged. Trying to be different for the sake of it attracts praise – which is unmerited. Would a parfumier deserve acclaim for producing an eau de doggie-do? It may be revolutionary, but it would still smell like sh…ould I even mention it? Similarly, a rose perfume watered down so far that you had to snort like a rhino to get some trace of it would not be a useful refinement.
    Strings of babble at social-media-trained level may have interest to those of similar lack of sophistication, but are they truly effective communication? Any developments which move from involvement at a deep level to one of superficiality cannot be regarded as indicating forward progress.

    • I’m permanently be-riddled about the way a really good debate can raise points that are so valid they make me get confused and back-track on what I said. This must be very frustrating to those who think I’ve taken their point – I have, and yet…

      Improvisation is an art. My grandmother who was a painter, used to make tons of pencil sketches before committing something to canvas. The sketches themselves I’d be proud to use as book covers today; but she “practiced” first before transferring the pencil sketch to canvas and then beginning the work of painting the scene in oil.

      I know some people who can lay down a sketch or a piece of Anime art (and it is art, as it evokes emotions) in a single sitting. I also know a few who think they can do this, who should rather go back and practice a bit more. And then I know a few who do this and think they can’t.

      What makes it art? I don’t know. Perhaps this is material for yet another explorative post?

    • On the ‘Quests’ CD insert (Quests 1) I wrote:

      ‘Art in general can be defined as the manipulation of expectations. Sensory perception of any kind is a process of building on knowledge, whether preconceived or whether generated during that perception. Sensing the expected gives feelings ranging from comfort and reassurance to disinterest and boredom, while the unexpected generates emotions ranging from interest and excitement to irritation, discomfort and even fear.’

      So one looks for the ideal balance.

  3. Passing by to turn your rhetorical question back at you. Argue that they are NOT of equal artistic value, but try to do it from a culturally-neutral standpoint. You’ll fail. That’s the way it is.
    😀

    • M, gotta love you!! You out-perform me in argumentation and polemic skills every time. 😀 Half of the time I wonder whether you’re actually defending your own opinion or playing the Devil’s advocate. Mind, you probably wonder the same about me, and you’d be right about 40%-60% of the time (depending which one you guessed).

      Let’s explore the following terms before we can solve this mathematical riddle:

      To define:
      artistic
      value
      cultural
      culturally-neutral

      And then let’s consider whether it is even possible for anyone who has grown up in any specific culture, or subculture, or milieu, to be culturally-neutral? It is human nature to want to be part of a “clique”, a “tribe”, a group identity of sorts. We are a social species. So whatever “our” group does, is “own” and whatever it doesn’t do, is “other”. By our very human nature we tend to be biased towards “own” and away from “other”. Exploring “other” can be very enriching, but I propose that with the exception of very rare cases, people tend to return to “own” in time, and are always comparing every new “other” to their “own” (usually finding fault one way or the other, standing in value-judgement). Teenagers are well-known for rejecting their parents’ culture etc in favour of that of the “clique” or friends, which essentially will form the basis of their own new families and social context. Very rarely do teenagers reject their clique’s “own” for another “other”, even that of their parents. Grr, now I’ve gone and confused myself, see, that’s why I’m not good at argumentation! 😀

    • Nevertheless you managed to say a bundle there, and to point out many of the rocks and shoals of our innate bias.

      I spent a good length of time looking at the two examples you used to illustrate your rhetorical question. I realised that I could give a personal opinion on what I appreciated about either – I could even perhaps say which one I preferred – but that the only objective comment I could pass was that the execution of one required more technique.

    • And a knowledge of mythology and cultural history, and… well I guess one can include deliberation, thought, philosophical depth and content and all that under “more technique”. Yes.

      TBH I don’t think the Rembrandt came out too shabbily either, perhaps next time I need to pick my examples more carefully. 😉

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