Oh, hello…

My choice of photo will make sense—sort of—once you get toward the bottom of the post. Photo by Eva Rinaldi (Owen Wilson) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

… Mrs. Woolf said to tell you:

“No creative writer can swallow another contemporary.  The reception of living work is too coarse and partial if you’re doing the same thing yourself.”

Now, discuss. (And feel free to substitute another art for for “creative writer” if you choose.)

And it’s occurring to me that the Hemingway character says something akin to this in Midnight in Paris, something about one writer being unable to judge another writer’s work truthfully because you’re always in competition. I personally disagree. You’re only in competition with that other person if you let yourself be, if you decide to measure your success against theirs. But that’s allowing yourself to believe you have more control than you actually do over what an editor or critic or the audience is going to think. And really the only thing we can control is if we’re doing the best we can and being as authentic to our own voices as possible. (And yes, I know it’s hard not to be jealous sometimes when someone’s exploding and you’re just lumping around, but the fact that it’s a hard task is no reason not to try. I’m just saying.)

Your thoughts?

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Posted on February 3, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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