Several blogs I've visited this week have had an artsy theme to them. Erica Orloff compared herself to a Jackson Pollock painting, while Jude Hardin posed a question regarding books as works of art.
And since I can't resist any conga line that weaves by, I'm hopping on, today's blog inspired by my desk calendar, a pseudo art book featuring daily quotes, some by artists. November 20th's featured art was "David Plays Before Saul" by Rembrandt. The accompanying quote, well suited to the week's blog-o-sphere theme, is as follows: "Whenever I see a Frans Hals I feel like painting, but when I see a Rembrandt I feel like giving up!" Max Liebermann said it, a reputable artist in the German Impressionist circles. To the left is his piece called, appropriately, "The parrot-man".
Don't you just love a man who can handle his bird?
Liebermann's quote jumped up and smacked me hard, similar to the way Edie Ramer does whenever I whine (whom you should have voted for by now). I think Max expresses what some writers might feel at one time or another. Certain authors have a style that humbles us into submission, while others kick our muse into overdrive.
I know after I read a Christopher Moore novel, I can't wait to jump into my work, his irreverent style similar to mine. Lolly Winston, author of "Good Grief" and "Happiness Sold Separately" is another. Her subject matter deals with broken relationships and emotionally bankrupt characters similar to mine. I just love them!
But I've never read a book that made me want to give up writing entirely. Sure, I have my days where I whine incessantly about the business and want to slit my throat, but I've yet to just up and quit. You'd have to poke out both my eyes to stop the constant feed of inspiration. It's next to impossible to entirely kill the spirit that drives us. Will I ever get a Pulitzer or Nobel? That's a when-hell-freezes-over rhetorical question, but my writing world doesn't collapse after I've read books by those who have won either or both.
I like to think of writers as snowflakes - looking alike in a group, but up close, entirely individual. No matter what the book or whom the author, each has followed the same haphazard writing process as the next - an invisible club where self-angst threads us all together in a beautiful tapestry of words, worlds and characters.
Writers are self-motivated machines, always able to pick up where they left off no matter how large the block that plagues us all at certain times. Yesterday I read part of my manuscript to my monster chihuahua, Lola, as she napped in my lap. I didn't take it personally that it put her to sleep, but reading it out loud juiced me up and got the motivation flowing again. That's what writers do. Subconsciously we're always able to unplug whatever has clogged the flow. Reading to Lola did that for me.
So if reading my own, unpublished, work motivates me, it stands to reason that reading someone else's published book will kick my muse into overdrive, and not be so humbled by it that I can't write another word. Hell to the no it won't!
How about you? Ever get tangled up by someone else's prose, or does it juice you up?