Susan - 2009-11-10 10:29 AMA writer crafts a story using the techniques of fiction. A literary artist crafts a story that illustrates a theme and moral that deeply troubles them in some way. A writer may simply want to entertain his or her readers. An artist wants to connect with his or her readers in a kind of psychological union.
It seems to me the above is another broad generalization. I think all writers want to connect with their readers in a certain way- writers want to please readers, they want their work to sell. I have no doubt that people like Dan Brown, Stephen King, etc. simply know how to craft a story that sells. They are talented story tellers and writers. I doubt they sit around thinking about all that troubles them and how to they can connect with their readers through these troubles.
As for your statement on theme and moral- I think you had a prior posting on this. The reader assigns theme and moral to the story, not the writer.
As for Cell- I love Stephen King, but that was a horrible book. It was just a horror story with a lot of gratuitous gross stuff in it. Why? Because he knew he could get away with it- anyting Stephen King writes sells. I think he was intentionally pushing the limits on this one, perhaps not even thinking about the impact of cell phones. Of course, I don't know- he does though. Would be a great question to ask him.
jrtomlin - 2009-11-08 9:57 PM In fact, I'd say the opposite. Succeeding as an artist of any kind takes immense concentration and determination. Writing novels takes the ability to stick with the same project for months. It takes the ability to survive rejection after rejection. Someone who is unbalanced is unlikely to have any of these characteristics.
No. The underlined is as broad (and inaccurate) a generalization as the original comment. People with bipolar, schizophrenia, and the like are intelligent and creative nearly to a fault. Not everyone, of course, but studies indicate the percentage is extremely high.
People messed up from trauma--war, abuse, molestation, eating Taco Bell--retain their intellect and abilities. They just fight through other things. In that category, people who actually put forth the effort to begin a hobby or develop a skill tend to stick with it. It's just getting started that is the problem.
That aside, I don't necessarily agree that most writers or artists are troubled. Conversely, I do believe that most troubled people find expression and release in some form of art or another, so the percentage is a high one in that category.
Many of history's most successful writers (and brilliant criminals) were unbalanced or troubled. That's not even counting the drunks.
Moderately related thought: it has always been a fervently held belief that the most gifted artists were never discovered. The most gifted painter lost everything in a house fire and never told anyone because he didn't think he was all that good, anyway. The best guitar player in the world is sitting in a smoky club somewhere down south, picking away like Curtis Low. The best writer has volumes and volumes in leather-bound diaries that were shipped to storage when her grandchildren cleaned out the house after their death.
Or they died from the Spanish flu. Or killed by Mongol hordes. Or were written off by ignorant teachers and ended up withering away in a cubicle.
Or quit because they were troubled and troubled people quit.
But what do I know? I'm troubled.
Gordon Jerome - 2009-11-10 10:06 AM But I'm more convinced than ever that EVERYONE has a freak flag; some have just woven theirs into the latest trendy ties, so it's harder to spot. That's a good point, Popovic.
I'm not a fan of the word--or the label--"artist" when used to speak about writers. I think far too often, it's used to promote a sense of elitism. I saw it in my English Lit courses in university, particularly my creative writing course, when genre fiction was dismissed as not good enough or too commercial or having no meaning. It's no less difficult to write a genre novel than it is a literary one. The elements of the craft don't differ.
Are there true literary artists? Hell, yes. But I don't think many of them, in their heyday, promoted themselves as literary artists but rather as writers. History has made that distinction.