Why Do Writers Need Editors But Painters Do Not

17 Sep

Alledgedly Landry

Alledgedly Landry

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Date: Sep 17 1996 14:55:12

Sorry more words than you called for. Guess that in and of itself supports the subject of this little piece. Was that your ploy all along? To mock the amateur wordsmith? Now, if I could have just emailed you a painting, that would have said it all in a flash.

Painters can make an honest (or lazy) attempt to pass ANYTHING as art. They don't have to worry about the confines of structure in the way that a composer or a writer must. Let's face it, I can squat down on a canvas, smear a big corn filled turd around on a spatula, glue on a crucifix, and immediately get a reaction from born again christeeeans, derelicts, intellectual bull shit artists and the like who don't even have to be literate. But, if I write a story about blowing a big chocolate corn stuffed stain on a piece of fabric and shoving a cross on top, first, I must construct a sentence in some grammatical form that even people who can read can understand. Then, I have to get people to read it. Since most people, even with some college education, refuse to read on principle, only a small percentage of the population will read it. Out of this group, most people will read it just to fill up some time on the john, some won't get through it because they will be bored, some will laugh but forget it immediately. . .basically only a smidgen of people will care—some whacko born again Christeeean who will want to make sure the piece will be censored, a few people who think anything that couples shit and Christ in the same piece to be important, a zealous ACLU lawyer, and the writer (maybe on this one).

And, in order to be taken seriously as a writer (whether you need it or not) you are REQUIRED to have an editor and your writing is only worth something if SOMEONE ELSE (in particular a BIG PUBLISHER) likes it and prints it and sells it. Quite different from celebrating independent artists, filmmakers and musicians who can gain credibility precisely IF they shun the BIG GUYS.

Now to address the points:

1. Painters as a demographic rarely stop working on a piece until they are finished.

If they do stop before they are finished they lie and say they ARE finished. If I turn in a manuscript finished or not, people can put their two cents in and change shit. How come I can't go up to a painting and blot on a hint o#196# yellow here and there? Hunh???

2. Writers are a driven but inherently lazy bunch, and are inclined to need a proper correcting of their pomposity since word manipulation rules are finite.

OH, does this hit the mark. Does this mean that a writer who paints is also a lazy painter? My painting and writing instructors both said "Miss Landry, you are very talented, but very lazy!" No fair that a writer can't use words like paint, layering and layering for effect. Well, you can do it, but who would read it?

3. Wordlovers are a different crowd from artlovers with slightly different motives and therefore require a middleman.

Yes Yes Yes. Sort of like a conductor in an orchestra. Otherwise, chaos.

8. It's easier to dismiss a single canvas than a truckload of books in boxes.

#8 True, in a way. But, I think the modern computer/internet age is presenting a dilemma for old school visual artists. Electronic visual art is now on the same intangible level as the written word or music. Think about it. I am an artist (alive or dead). I sit in my studio drinking, fucking young boys and going insane from syphilis. I buy paint and drugs from my so-called friends, have a vision and do a painting. Since I am well known in my village or on the left bank of pareeeeeee, a few bored no-talent rich people bid for my painting. The painting. The only one. Mr. Booger wins and buys it for $3 million and takes it home to hang it over the fireplace in his boudoir and whacks off to it every night. No one else sees it until his death. Then, his lover gives it to some museum and the only way you can see the actual painting is if you spend lots of money to go to the city that contains the museum that houses the painting.

But, if I'm, say, Emily Dickinson, I write, I die, and years later all these people read my books. At the most, they spend, what, $10 on a collection. After a certain time, the more valuable the words become (named "classic") the easier it is to buy a piece of paper with the words on it. (I'm at work, so I apologize for how disjointed this is). In a nutshell, writing was and is always existing in a virtual world. You can't own the writing in the same way you can own a piece of art. But, with the Internet, I can do some visual art, scan it in my computer (or do it on the computer), put it on the Internet and it becomes just as unreal and intangible as words. Everyone can own it. Everyone can borrow bits and pieces of it. This will do more damage to the artist's ego than STDs. Writers have always known this and that is why a writer embraces the modern world before a visual artist.

This reminds me of an argument I had with my friend Brad who is a painter. He said that painting is art and writing is craft. What do you think?

Landry

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"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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