Ruminating On: Personal Opinion and Artistic Responsibility

A healthy mind is an active mind. Television and movies are fun and whatnot, but they lack viewer interaction. There’s nothing better than casting your own mental movie and blowing your brain’s budget on special effects. When reading, the sky is not the limit. There are no boundaries, nothing to hold you back. The mind is as infinite as space, and loads more entertaining. This is why I love reading and writing, but I will always be a reader first.

Though my father was illiterate, my mother and sisters were avid readers. For the most part, I was raised in a house that nurtured imagination and creativity. My mother was a member of several book clubs, and would much rather buy me books than toys. Because of this, I learned how to be alone. That’s not a sad thing. In fact I consider it one of my defining characteristics. I don’t need anyone else to make me happy because I’m perfectly content with having only myself for company. This doesn’t mean I’m antisocial, only that, if the need arises, I can be alone without drowning in depression.

I think all of that culminated to create an individual who respects personal opinion and artistic responsibility. As readers, we’re given an open playing field, but if the writer hasn’t cut the grass and weeded the fringe, the bigger picture can be lost, and our enjoyment crumbles. There’s nothing worse than picking up a book and finding out the author didn’t even try to tell a cogent, engaging story. Are we mad at them? Yeah, and for good reason. Even if we didn’t spent our money on the piece, our time is has been wasted. Artistic responsibility comes into play here. Author, you are a travel salesman who deals in escapism, wherein you must provide access to all the niceties and necessities: sightseeing, entertainment, strangers with which we might become lifelong friends or fierce enemies. Readers are buying a pass from life, if only for a moment, because this existence is rough, like a playground slide made out of sandpaper; it might not hurt at first, but, in the end, everyone’s ass gets chewed up at least once. If we don’t “get you” or “understand your genius” that is our prerogative. No one told you how to write your book, so do not assume you can tell us what to think of it. Sure, every now and then a readers’ own mood will ruin their vacation, but most of us explain that this is the case when and if it happens, but not every book is bad just because the reader was in a less-than-stellar mood. Some books are just rancid, like an overused jockstrap that’s been secreted away behind a locker for the past ten years.

Writers, as a fellow author, I understand your woes, but they really are just that: YOUR woes. I know these strung together words mean a lot to us, but, once you let them out into the world, you no longer have sole claim to them. Stories breed. They sprout and grow and branch off into infinite possibilities. Stories also infect. They can fester and sicken and desolate. Authors, which would you rather be? The parent of a promising child, or the host to contagion? The choice is yours.

I’ve been E. You’ve been you. Goodnight.