Is it possible to not relate to the relative magnanimity given to other writers when you are one?
I guess musicians may go through a similar thing. They create music. They make a tune or a symphony. Someone is beguiled by it. Then someone projects all certain desires upon it and its creator.
Most often I have seen artists just shrug and go back to their business of making. Love or not loved they produce because they produce, like a Salmon on a spawn run or a fruit bearing tree. There is just a natural compulsion driven by known-but-unseen forces to produce an image or an art object. The making is simply not dependent on the market. It is the only hope left for magic.
I guess I have been under some illusion writing is in some separate mundane magic where its craftsmanship is dammed up behind misers of a different type. Those who are word-killers. I imagine a type of A-list hunter who seeks to kill the craft for the sake of completive spite or avarice. They seek to control a maker making or a writer writing. It’s the anal retentive would-be-Svengali who sits on what other people make for their own perverse solitary power trip. Few seem to think the joke is funny, but, again, they shrug and move on to whatever gets published that day like organized insects busy on their pile of dirt.
Prior to this tirade, I read a prop piece on Edna O’Brien’s recent book in Smithsonian magazine. (What was I doing reading Smithsonian in my free time? It showed up in my mailbox, suspiciously, one day. It was later discovered a relative had sponsored a subscription for us.) The prop piece was written by someone truly fascinated by the author. It wasn’t just her book process.
I guess I have been so spoiled by professional behind-the-scenes relays from filmmakers and directors, that I was somehow offended when this magazine writer became a starry-eyed drone hovering over Edna O’Brien. Despite my discomfort I realized this author wasn’t merely observing and reporting about another author. They were commenting on journey and style of Irish writers.
I took a class on Irish authoring. This may tip a few Holy Cows here but I don’t get Irish writing. I don’t get why people fawn over Irish derived writing as if reading the geographic or even genetic writing is somehow like watching a live birth of an elf covered in opals telecasted in a rough gaelic translation. I just don’t get it. To this day when I read or witness people nearly worshipping Irish writing I feel really strange.
I have a similar reaction to people who flock to the feet of New York writers because they made publishing space for some new display of carnality or vileness for really bored and vile rich psychopaths as if it can be newly understood gutter oil under this piano lamp. I can’t share their fate. I have to run. Far. Away. To a Turd Polisher’s Anonymous meeting.
Criticism has to be justified. In Edna’s case this coverage was somehow about the integration of a genocidal war maker on the lam with his love story in her new book. The notion is unsavory and a little outrageous, but in some universe also conceivable and human. I think humanizing psychopaths who routinely get a break in all runs of the press daily everywhere is bad form for human life.
I guess this comes from a deeply disappointed bitter place that nearly psychotic writers and editors end up in charge of what I read. Its the same type of publishing parsonage who bank the prosperity of their writing career on being taken into intimacy with convicts.They have been making terrible editorial decisions my entire life to let genocidal megalomaniacs off of the hook by not printing the horror of what it is they do or demurring to political forces who want to smooth over what genocide actually is to some socially accepted thing.
I think this is happening so certain world leaders don’t have to face the emperor in his nudity or when they are proximally close to the same people who ascended to power by killing hundreds or thousands of regular people. I am so sorry for their discomfort, because I have been there. However, the writer and journalist must call spade ‘SPADE’ when it is our turn to use the written word to tell the truth. They have to stop being sops to deadly or powerful people because they can kill indiscriminately.
Someone has to be the adult in the room. To adulate Edna O’Brien for her careful pass at probably humanizing the love interests of a genocide perpetrator is conservative form and noteworthy for me. The Smithsonian’s coverage is the same tone and caliber of whitewashed insanity that makes some intentionally enforced poverty and segregation of native americans and former slaves in America kept humming consistently in the background unnoticed by the regular people. There are tons of it in inventory in vast grades and quantity in this market.
I know the whitewash will still be reliably printed and ran. Writers will make their living from conflicts either bowing to them or defying them. I just cannot be expected to read on happily without a single complaint.