Saturday, May 14, 2011

False and real artists

Its dusk and I'm re-reading Dorothea Brande's classic Becoming a Writer. I bought the paperback in Edinburgh way back in the September of 1989.
I'm loving one of her definitions of a writer:
"The picture of the artist as a monster made up of one part vain child, one part suffering martyr, and one part boulevardier [most definitely my word of the day] is a legacy to us from the last century, and a remarkably embarrassing inheritance. There is an earlier and healthier idea of the artist than that, the idea of the genius as a man more versatile, more sympathetic, more studious than his fellows, more catholic in his tastes, less at the mercy of the ideas of the crowd.
The grain of truth in the fin de siècle notion, though, is this: the author of genius does keep till his last breath the spontaneity, the ready sensitiveness, of a child, the 'innocence of eye' that means so much to the painter, the ability to respond freshly and quickly to new scenes, and to old scenes as though they were new; to see traits and characteristics as though each were new minted from the hand of God instead of sorting them quickly into dusty categories and pigeon-holing them without wonder or surprise; to feel situations so immediately and keenly that the wore 'trite' has hardly any meaning for him; and always to see 'the correspondences between things' of which Aristotle spoke two thousand years ago. This freshness of response is vital to the author's talent."

1 comment:

Sharon Cousins said...

I also love that book - an old favourite