Oh, the rarefied air we artists breathe. Cogs in the greater wheel or isolated hermits toiling in a cave? We’re trying to figure that out even when everyone’s a “creative” and art has transformed once again into a craft populated by artisans.
With the upcoming launch of my latest novel Soundings, Water Elemental, the necessities of social media have inundated me. I’m ensnared by the current model for artists who’ve morphed into creators whose daily work and lifestyle require processing for consumption. Remember the pink slime of hamburger fame?
C’est moi. Yet since I feel privileged to have such an excellent team at Booktrope, this definitely counts as a whine. Thank goodness for book manager and publicist exemplar Vanya’s practical voice calming my wildly oscillating sine wave before it flips to completely erratic.
After reading a provocative article in The Atlantic, I realize what overwhelms me—and possibly you, dear reader—is the latest obligation to be a creative entrepreneur versus an artiste. And Gladwell’s 10,000 hours toward proficiency? Evidently networking, high concept, and branding trump that in today’s world. Yes, the cult of personality triumphs.
Yet do we allow despair to suck us into its vortex? Absolutely not—resistance may not prove futile. Still the idea that creatives exist solely as corporate brands? That’s cynicism at its dankest depths.
I know a few of the writerly 1% who’ve become brands, whose stories translate into tours of economically challenged towns featured fictitiously in nudge, nudge, wink, wink their “breakout novels.” I salute them and their successes. If one of my stories rescues a town or my preference, an endangered species, I’d go for it.
You see, those 1% writers I unabashedly love did their 10,000 hours, absorbed craft, and now? Well, they’re professionals who support families, small towns, and the new corporate paradigm of “producerism.” The destructive force of a fully operational death star—er—marketplace has been brought to bear.
As our culture tracks Jane Austin’s “aha” moments, then equates them to “yo quiero taco bell”, I wonder which of my favorite writers would fail to publish today. Which undiscovered voices will be lost in the rush toward “producerism?”
Now I’m dragging my sorry artist’s butt to the kitchen for breakfast, then out to clean both cat box and pup yard. Today’s odyssey? The cupboard’s bare and I actually do live in a remote, yet plush “cave.” On, on.