Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rumor is You're a Good Writer

Why authors have it worse than visual artists and musicians.
(With lots of pretty pictures!)

So last Friday, I was in my DSG (Discipleship Small Group), and one of my leaders turns to me and says, "So rumor is you're a good writer."

I didn't know how to respond. I had a few options. One, humbly accent to the truth of it (without forgetting the faint blush). Two, give them a chance to see for themselves. Three, ask who said so and decide on whether that rumor had license to continue or not. All sort of jumbled in my mind, and I simply spat out the one that was most intriguing to me. Which really didn't help because she refused to name her benefactor anyways. I decided to let my group read the piece that I was pretty sure was the instigator for such a rumor. But while they were reading, it occurred to me the distinct difference between authors and the other types of artists in the world. For painters, actors, musicians, dancers, models, clothes designers (really, the list goes on), their art can be labeled as "good" or "bad" within the first few seconds of hearing or seeing. The audience can hear whether or not the performer has a nice voice, an expressive face, or a pleasant color scheme. Authors are the only ones for whom rumors can exist.

Here's an example of this principle in action.
My roommate is a phenomenal drawer. And everyone who knows her knows it. She habitually draws, no matter where she is. When she feels gratitude or love for someone, she likes draws a picture for a gift.

 Just now, while reading this blog, you already have an idea of what a well rounded and talented artist she is. The picture to the right is not a drawing but a ceramic. There is no doubt, no "rumor," of her being a good artist.
It's actually probably taking you longer to read these meager sentences of mine than for you to see her ability. Yet even as you know how good she is, within the same space you have close to no idea of my talent as a writer. Rather, you only have scraps of sentences you can piece together to get some vague idea, some rumor, of what my ability might be.

This principle gets even worse. Not only does it take a significantly longer time to appreciate the present talent of an author, it takes even more time to see their progression in talent. The example below is my own progression line as an artist.
To clarify, the chart above is not of my roommate's art but mine
It's old. Yeah. I know.

I like to draw as well as write, which does not soothe this terrible unjustness between authors and all other kinds of artists but only aggravates it more. Because some unreasonable part of my subconscious chose to be passionate over words instead of pictures, I am constantly banging my head on the keyboard repeating, "Why, why, why." Being a visual artist and musician gives so much more immediate gratification. I am a singer, musical performer, drawer. Even my knitting gets more public attention than my writing does. Yet everyday I choose to focus on writing instead of any of my other talents.

There is a reason, though, and I would not dare end this post without mentioning it. Writing expresses the soul. It is your own work, yet it tells you things about yourself, about the world, that you never knew you knew. All the art I busy myself in, aside from writing, only flirts with me and then, once the performance is done or picture has been finished, it leaves me desolate. Writing is the only one that sticks with me, that changes me not only as I do it but also once its done. Writing is a best friend. And while this relationship might merely be a rumor to those watching from the outside, the vague appearance does not reflect the truth of the intimacy on the inside.


  1. I had no idea you were so young! Also, I wish I could draw in any way. You're totally right about that. Also, in art you can say "Well, that may be good, but it's not my cup of tea," but in writing, you get bored and just remember it as, well, boring.

  2. If you're calling 18 young, and you're 18 as well, then how old did you think I was? X3

    Also, thanks for the comment and the following! I'm not one for begging for people to follow or comment, but if they do, I definitely feel gratitude for such time spent and interest given. So thanks :)

  3. Wrote a longer comment, but it deleted it :(

    I thought you were in your early twenties :)

    As for the commenting, I really like your blog! But I'm a lurker. If you want more attention, I'd recommend using Twitter and getting involved in YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesdays.

  4. Oh, I hate it when the internet does that! It's so discouraging, and you know you can't rewrite verbatim everything you just said. Makes you not even try to post a comment at all...

    I took a quick look at YA Highway, and it looks amazing! So awesome. I'm keeping that stowed away for a good day when I'm bored or not in the mood to write. I've found that other writer's blogs are really good ways to pump me up to write, so I'm super excited!

    As for twitter...I'm reluctant. I barely keep an eye on my facebook account as it is. There are just too many people, too many things to do, and I'd rather be doing something which creates concrete productivity. As an author and blogger, how do you use twitter? I just don't know what I'd post on there that I can't post here.

  5. You use Twitter just to keep up with day-to-day things, like whether you've gone out on submissions or what specific passage is giving you angst, or even if you visited the gynecologist recently. (Not making that up. Though I may have spelled it wrong :P) It's casual contact, and can be fun, but can also be a timesuck.

  6. Both you and your roommate are talented artists :) I love visual art as well, and I'm a constant doodler. However, I prefer the written word because there is, for me, a greater barrier between what I have in my mind and what I can put onto a canvas than what I can spill onto a page.