What Inspires An Artist?

Dan Strawn is one of the finest living writers I’ve met, of fiction, that is. He’s the author of Isaac’s Gun et al. I’m a wanna be novelist myself in that I truly enjoy the art form, but have allowed life to get in the way of a wished-for direction. When I read Strawn’s fine period novel, however, things changed….

If we could just focus our thinking on one thing, wouldn't life be different? For an artist, that's the eternal struggle. We can't fly because we're bound...or so we think. Story and photo by Dwayne Parsons

If we could just focus our thinking on one thing, wouldn’t life be different? For an artist, that’s the eternal struggle. We can’t fly because we’re bound…or so we think. Story and photo by Dwayne Parsons

See Also: Talent, Work with What You Have

If We Could Focus, We Could Fly

That’s what I think. All writers, painters, musicians, sculptors…all artists think that; don’t they? At least most of us do (or I could say “them” if I wanted to direct that thought away from me). It’s evident because that’s how we justify our failure to reach the dream or make it happen.

Strawn and I got into an email discussion on this matter and he thought this:

For us who enjoy the process, it’s not work, and sometimes we get so engrossed in the process that success evades us for no other reason that we failed to see it, all for [lack of] a firm definition of what success looks like. High rankings on best seller lists and big royalties are only two measures. For struggling writers, reader response amounts to success. It tells the authors their work has touched someone. Seems to me that’s what success is all about for all artistic endeavors: touching someone, and it’s far too easy to dismiss the ones and twos of reader response as inconsequential. For me, savoring these ones and twos tell me my work has succeeded at some level. They inspire me to persevere.

Right on, Strawn

Let’s keep this thought going, Dan. Maybe it will pull me out of the justifications of magazine, PR and Realtor into going for the gold.

I’ve written one novel as yet unpublished. Some liked it; some didn’t. I wasn’t real proud of it, but it sure was fun! Didn’t think it was quite my voice yet (or my story, perhaps).

Here I am now at 66, going all day long on three ventures, loving each for its own sake and by and large succeeding at each. But what about the novelist? Where is he? Will he yet have a chance?

And if he does, will he take it?

I wonder.

See Also: Talent, Work with What You Have