Sunday, October 12, 2014

Artist Run Amok (Lori Gilcrest)

I have so appreciated your discussion of THE ARTIST, John. Thank you. I have to admit I think your perspective and mine are very similar, so I'm bound to think your commentary is brilliant. : )

I've been trying to have a discussion recently (and pretty much forever from time to time) along these lines. I think many people are diminishing the possibility of making a living as an artisan or ARTIST by insisting on the capital A and by making inaccurate connections between living a creative life and making a living.

When I was in graduate school a Poet who taught for a living objected to students in her class calling themselves Poets, or Writers, or Artists. She said Robert Frost once said Poet is a gift word. You can't call yourself one, someone else has to give you that gift. She said Artist was the same.

I was at a workshop once where Kurt Vonnegut caused the entire room to gasp when he said the very possibility of literature was dead. Later he told me he believed that was true because Literature, capital L, as Art, capital A, is what happened when through hard word the working writer who had learned the craft of making salable work to support himself and his family wrote something that transcended and was recognized as ART. The world of celebrity writers and literature through the lens of an economic system gone wild had, according to Mr. Vonnegut, killed the possibility of transcendence in that way.

As always, thanks for elevating the conversation and trying to get us all to think.


Lori Gilcrist
Executive Director
Communities in Schools of Mitchell County
(828) 467-0970

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