Monday, 21 December 2015

Neither from the stage nor on the page.



I have been known, occasionally if not widely, as somewhat of a stickler for details.

To honor that I'm letting you know the Goodreads Giveaway for 'A Dog and His Boy' happens today.  I'll get autographed copies into the mail when I receive your address after the draw is complete.  Best of luck to the entrants and enjoy the novel to the winners.  I look forward to reading your reviews.

We now return to the weekly topic.

Though sometimes difficult to appreciate due to an assortment of unvarnished habits personal and professional seldom is the minutia left to chance with me.  It takes countless hours of focussed effort to preserve the imitation of spontaneity in work presented to an audience.  The demand made of artistic results in whatever medium is approximately equivalent whether viewed on the stage or read from the page.

A professional level of attention is applied to each aspect of all works.

It is a challenge willingly accepted if at best unevenly met.  Close examination of it soon establishes the reach of this artist's vast ambition as generally exceeding the grasp of his limited talent.  Though always presented honestly it often lacks the universal appeal required to achieve significant popularity.  Some claim that in the form of either a fool's uneducated prose or a lurid saloon song it's largely fueled by ignorance and often traded by alcohol.  A man is grateful for the notice as every form of art needs the critical review of an audience to be appreciated, fairly or otherwise.

Damn me with faint praise if necessary but doubt not the sincere commitment exercised in pursuit of the work.

There have been numerous explanations postulated for a career long lack of significant public acceptance beyond the finite restriction of my skills.  The proverbial blind dog is claimed to discover a bone at least once in a while.  Or so have I been told.  Experts far and wide have by now considered and prognosticated both explanation and solution to the lengthening conundrum of my limited success.  The unique opinion of each has, so far at least, failed to deliver the writer from the wasteland of cultural obscurity.

It is plainly a difficult case.

I consider it good fortune that continued lack of popular interest in the work fails to diminish my willingness to create it.  Though unlikely with patience and continued practice a man hopes the time spent may eventually produce results appropriate to that invested.  The lack of a guarantee and the pace of progress however add an element of senseless risk to the proceedings a fellow would be foolish to deny.  I thus recognize the providence of having long ago accepted the surreal nature of the windmills I pursue.

As near as I can tell we each bear the cross of our choice.

An explanation receiving a fair amount of interest in these parts is the detachment both common and elemental to my work.  Be it geographically situated or atmospherically enhanced this separation is a hallmark of my efforts in fiction and music.  While respecting the power of timely subject matter I reject it for the most part as either appropriate or effective as a personal artistic approach.  For me a true appreciation of the present is only achieved through reflection upon it after it has passed.

I believe in this way the perspective enabled by time limits the emotional involvement of the reporter.

I had thus judged the idea theoretically interesting but practically inconclusive.  Though it might prove accurate I could devise no test capable of producing results suitable for worthwhile consideration.  The writer can be only the sum of what his talent and experience allow.  While attempting to be something other than that may lead to greater popular success it must certainly produce results of inferior artistic quality.

The idea amounts to cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Another justification lately proposed is the lack of personal information historically delivered on behalf of the boorish scribe honking mulish from either stage or page.  Be it orientation political or habits personal the hillbilly scribe maintains a stoic silence regarding such facts befitting the bigoted dime store carvings of his ancestors.  The lack of societal engagement prevents connection with a wider public I have been reminded on numerous occasions.  This too represents a potential clue in explaining the biblical lengths wandered through the desert of the ignored.  Though not denying the possibility that disclosure of leanings and interest might hold such rarified power it frankly seems unlikely.  Despite the increasingly hysterical raves of the social media the proof claimed in support of the conclusion is primarily anecdotal and thus certainly less than reliable.

I'm satisfied the things I believe are clear enough if you either listen to my music or read the fiction I have written.

Throughout my career I've made a habit of keeping my personal life and opinions regarding politics and other matters of conscience separate from my work.  I have always requested the privacy of my person and family be respected despite my choice of profession and have long been grateful for the consideration I've received.  Similarly I prefer my political leanings and personal beliefs be considered separately from both the fiction I create and the music I perform.  My opinion of these matters is that they are private and unsuitable for public discussion in most cases.  As moving its listening audience is the intention of my music so also have I kept the focus of my fiction on challenging its reader.  I believe too much value is regularly placed in the often misinformed opinions of people momentarily topping the news cycle of the popular culture.  Like everyone else living in a purportedly free society however I remain welcome to my choice of opinion in such matters.

I thus make a habit of rarely speaking directly to matters of conscience whether from the stage or on the page.

That an urge to give counsel is exceeded only by the desire to receive it among our kind is the theory I chose as most appropriate to apply to the situation.  After decades of considering the various machination suggested by friend and foe alike it also seems as likely an explanation for the state of my career as any.  Another little known fact is that I have listened carefully to career advice passed my way over the years.

Though personally I can neither give the stuff nor stand to take it.

A man further dislikes speaking to affairs so apparent when the work remaining to be done is daunting in both quantity and complexity.  If a lifetime of plainly left-leaning and free-thinking tom-foolery in and out of the public eye has taught me anything it's that a fellow is best off breaking his own trail.  To spend precious time seeking either the opinion or approval of your fellows is to waste it and not well.  As the only commodity of any real value actual shame should rightly be felt when any of us do so.  This is not advice offered but a fact observed.  Meanwhile with the glut of expert information now available a fellow is well served cultivating a taste for them as they rapidly grow rare.  Lest we forget that after all has been said to do remains the only means to be.  Thus the writer must write and the musician must play as the bird must fly and the fish must swim.  Beliefs and opinions be damned.

It is sometimes necessary to read carefully or listen closely if we are to understand what is being said.

Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.

-          TFP
December 21, 2015

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