Thursday, November 20, 2008

Art says he don't get art....

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?


spyscribbler said...

Juices me up, totally! Both my own and others.

I love your comparison of writers and snowflakes!

marciacolette said...

There have been other writers that have juiced me up. In fact, they juice me up so much that I toss their books aside and start working on my own.

Another way to juice me up is a good quote that stands the test of time. The same goes for poetry. Lanston Hughes has always pulled me up by my boot straps with his poem, Mother To Son. That's a keeper!

Kath Calarco said...

Spy, glad you liked the comparison. We got three more inches of snow today so I couldn't help myself.

Kath Calarco said...

I have to check out the Langston Hughes' quote. Good poetry strikes a chord with me every time!

Edie said...

Kath, thanks for the shout out! Wonderful writers inspire me. When I'm in awe of their voice, it makes me want to write better. Although first I finish reading their book!

Amy Nathan said...

I totally am inspired by other writers, I even feel challenged a bit's a challenge I place on myself when I read...if I can do just as good, or better.

Kath Calarco said...

Edie, I know what you mean about finishing the book. My problem is if the book is really good I won't do anything else until I get to the end. But, sometimes we just need to do that, I suppose.

Kath Calarco said...

Amy,that's what is so cool about reading - it raises our own bar. And I think that without challenging ourselves, writing suffers and falls into a rut. (Or that black-hole, which happens to me from time to time.)