Monday, 4 April 2016

Life on purpose.



Now several weeks into the practice here the work of editing is reviewed by this post.

As usual, the reader is cautioned that neither advice nor instruction is either implied or offered.  Entertainment of writer and reader is the point of this missive while service of the established publishing schedule is also respected.

Though it may yet prove too much to be maintained that conversation is left for another time.

My life though often chaotic and by routine ineffable has been dedicated to a long established if not satisfactorily realized purpose.  With literary work the reader may be assured all of it including the approach to its completion has been as desired.  Not for nothing have I maintained a significant degree of independence throughout my career in the arts.

I've always preferred calling my own shots.

At least part of the limitations experienced by Harwill's career in music may with reason be ascribed to this preference.  The approach to my literary efforts is similarly affected by a disavowal of direction or input external to my own in matters of either style or structure.  This patient adherence to an individual method is no doubt maddening to those schooled in the communal path to refinement and success.

Vive la diff'erence!

The most flattering term I've so far heard applied to an admitted obsession with solo completion of my work is 'uncompromising'.  That descriptors less kind have many times been suggested is also left for a separate conversation.  While appreciating the implied respect inherent in the evaluation I must also admit to feeling misjudged by its application.  For though not known for it my professional experience reflects a lifetime of compromise in both form and substance that deny the accusation.  Aside from songwriting most of my work in music reflects a more than less cooperative effort making the term at best inaccurate. 

The explanation for this disavowal and the source of my well-earned appreciation of compromise follows.

A short description of earlier career terms will provide the reader information necessary to understanding the discussion.  An indie music career while often lacking significant financial reward pays back with near total control of production and finished product.  The technology enabling the career choice meanwhile allows a sufficiently skilled modern-day artist to work with as much or as little outside aid as desired.  The choice of working only with electronic samples instead of live musicians is also an accepted practice in the modern lexicon of the craft.

Doing it your way can involve one or many in the digital age of music.

My choice was always to stay close to the roots of whatever I worked toward and in music this manifested in specific ways.  Harwill started as an independent artist limited by economics and ruled by taste.  This meant using digital technology to record analog music performed by living musicians.  As the songwriter, producer, engineer, and performer meanwhile the ability to both filter and interpret an individual artistic vision among craftsmen of exceptional and unique skill was both a challenge and a need.

For myself recording music meant working closely with a surprising number of people.

The experience while both enriching and rewarding was occasionally troublesome and most times costly.  Thus an opportunity to complete largely solo literary projects after decades of working as part of a larger team was easily embraced.  The idea though attractive for its simplicity was eventually acknowledged as also potentially more difficult.

It has often been said that a change can sometimes be as good as a rest.

An aspect of music that has always disturbed me is the inestimable influence of the producer on the music to which I listened.  Since youth I've wondered to whose performance I was truly listening, those of artist or producer.  This was matched by interest in the unknown effect of an editor upon the literature I read.  To consider if a novel was created by writer or editor from my earliest days likewise caused much personal intellectual consternation.

The service of these obsessions has both shaped and required the conduct of my career on the line of independence it would follow.

After decades of experience and training in studios from northern Alberta to Nashville since the release of a third album Harwill functioned as producer of his own music.  The experience was both edifying and artistically satisfying.  While largely overlooked by those external to the process a music artist works under technical constraints that affect realization of vision.  The ability to manifest imagination is often enhanced by knowledge both technical and less than interesting to many musicians.  Understanding the intricacies and pressures associated with the recording craft may also result in improved performance.  The true value of a producer while difficult to describe is thus often best revealed in the recording studio.

For only in rare instances is ignorance considered an asset.

A short review of current literary circumstance and personal history will provide additional insight to the discussion.  For simple tools underlie the vocational practice here.  The writer like most of his time once relied near exclusively upon pen-and-paper for writing.  For short works such as songs and the occasional poem the habit continues.  The writer's closet yet holds numerous examples of unpublished short stories writ and edited in longhand.  As a poor typist meanwhile his first manuscripts were also drafted entirely by hand.

The value of 'spellcheck' was understood long before it was either created or embraced in this locale.

With the rise of technology the writer soon developed an affinity ~ some would say reliance ~ for the word processor.  The development of cost-effective and widely accessible editing software further removed the writer from earlier habits.  As consequence both efficiency and skill have improved and for this the writer offers neither apology nor regret.  Like modern recording technology software writing tools without doubt both enabled and improved independent practitioners everywhere.  The writer with gratitude acknowledges a confluence of circumstance allowing his professional betterment.

For this life is devoted to the service of vocation despite the overabundant vanity of its creator.

Thus after decades of having my work altered to suit a variety of mediums do I now serve as personal literary editor.  By working with professionals in a variety of writing styles including business, technical, journalism, and script writing, my exposure to the intricacies of editorial practice was extensive.  Much like the ability of a producer the skill of an editor is often unappreciated by writers and most times misunderstood by readers.  With a variety of types and few established criteria for evaluating its efficacy the difficulty is easily understood if less so to overcome.  As most are also uncredited the situation is compounded.  Yet its absence in most writing will soon be apparent to the reader.

Like pornography though defying respectable description most know it when they see it.

The years invested earning competency in the craft, though thankless and difficult, now allows the writer to dispense with a question most others won't answer.  For this work is completed, whole and entire, by its writer.  With the task managed personally meanwhile the strong influence of its editor is with joy embraced in these parts.

Every word credited, including those featured on this blog, is written and edited by this writer's hand.

It turns out many of the compromises demanded by music can be eliminated when writing fiction and publishing independently.  Yet only by serving as personal editor can the exact intent of a writer, minus the financial concerns of a faceless conglomerate and the stylistic prejudice of an uncredited third party, be preserved.  The finished work resulting is thus that of its author alone.  A coincidental benefit of the practice is elimination of concern for ease of consumption.  It may then be promoted according to the wishes of its owner rather than by a remorseless corporate entity in relentless pursuit of profit.

The personal style and individual talent of the writer can be factually presented to the reader only in this way.

If the approach above described renders the writer uncompromising meanwhile the reader may be assured the pejorative is with great pleasure accepted.  For it has long been a personal contention that compromise, when unnecessary, is rare if ever mourned.

I will also reveal that mention of the word raises the writer's historically elevated blood pressure.

Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.

-          TFP
April 4, 2016

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