January 11, 2013 by musehick
I have read in pieces by writers better than I where they have claimed that every single picture that an artist paints is in some way a self portrait (I wish I could attribute it, but I can’t, and I sometimes like to pretend that I don’t have Google). If this metaphor can be extended, and as it is my piece of writing, I am going posit that it can – then it could quite easily be argued that every piece of writing by a writer is likewise a self portrait.
Now, I would also like to suggest that in some way every painting reveals an artist’s idea of what painting is, in the techniques employed and the way the art is constructed. You can see where I am going with this, right? That writing likewise often describes in the way it is put together both the writer’s opinion of various techniques and means of construction.
I write here a lot about what I believe art is or writing is – or what it should do; what I think my writing does, and sometimes how well I think I do it. Reading my writing is the best way to explain this though – I do, or aim to do what I think art should do, and I use different techniques in the way I think they should most effectively be employed. The proof is in the pudding.
This has traditionally been my problem with books on how to write – but perhaps it is just that I myself have not found the didactic approach and rule setting as a good way to explore how I think about writing; writing fiction has been my vehicle for exploring and fleshing out the ideas; nominally putting the words in someone else’s mouth and having them be my voice. I paint my self portrait in caricature, but never let the passion and the words of a character blunt the message, I would hope that the person speaking for me is obvious because they are going to be the one positively supporting art and they are more often than not going to be the hero. I don’t often admit that – but the heroic part of me, which I might deny in daily life, is given free reign in my fiction. I am also not afraid to hold up a looking glass to the darker, less admirable parts of myself either – being a writer calls for honesty or the writing will not have any integrity. I aim for integrity. I lay myself bare regularly – if you cannot read it between the lines; read it in the manifest thrust of the work, then you are not really reading what I write and your opinion does not matter to me. Give me a fair go and I am truly open to your communication and would love to hear what you think. I would love to look at your self portraits too.