Sunday, April 24, 2016

Yeah, I meant to do that

"Talking about art requires artists to sound purposeful and sure of themselves, but she'd never felt that way. Over the years she'd made up a lot of reasons because people didn't seem to like the arbitrariness of the reality."
--Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen

I think most writers do have plans and purpose, but it may not always be what readers see, and readers may find connections we didn't (consciously) intend. But I like this quote because it speaks to the intuitive part of art-making. I don't find writing to be a wholly calculated, wholly intellectual exercise, but to include some of what Quindlen's character thinks of as "arbitrariness," which we may also call "inspiration."


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  2. Me again! What I meant to say was...It's cool that readers can read deep enough into a writer's work to find connections that the writer didn't intend. That said, I think it can be equally fun for the writers to inject little hints about themselves into their work, while knowing that it's unlikely a reader will draw a connection from these clues. I know an artist who shared that she frequently leaves secrets about herself behind in her art like she's sharing some sort of an inside joke between herself and her art. I believe writers do that too, sometimes consciously or unconsciously.

    1. It's fun to write in layers like that, to seed clues. Occasionally I pick those things up in other writers' work, some detail or name or joke I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't read their bio.