I realise that I spend an awful lot of the meagre amount of time that I do spend posting on Livejournal basically laying into books that have annoyed me and writers that I think come up short. I am also aware that it is easy to be a critic when you have never made anything yourself, and possibly even easier to be a critic when you are a frustrated artist in your own right. I don't think that either of those two positions invalidate criticism inherently, by the way - yes, bitter people say bitter things but that doesn't mean that they are automatically invalid and they can still be important and insightful observations.
I also do not subscribe to the view that art or even artistic endeavour, validates itself. Just because you have something to say doesn't meant that you need to be heard. This is important because good art is important to the world, and in my view more important than the artists who make it. Bad art does not deserve
recognition or reward merely because the artist expended a lot of effort
in its creation, or indeed has no other means of subsistence. Art is bigger and harder than that.
I understand very well how harsh that statement above is - I know and care for people whose income depends on the quality of the work they produce and I would hate to see them lose their income because of a slip in standard. On a personal level that would be horrible, a real tragedy. In fact, my own security is based on the continued artistic achievements of the institution I work for and too many duff operas would send me back into the job market for sure. But that still doesn't validate the bad work in itself. Every job is precarious in one way or another, every life open to tragedy and we cannot escape it.
Having said all of that, I thought that it would be best for me to lay open my own cards - not in a 'look at me' way, but merely in a 'here I am' way. I write a lot about things that annoy me, about writing that doesn't work, and I also write about the writing that I am doing myself. I don't necessarily think that the writing that I do is great - certainly not always good enough to charge for - although I am working towards the point when I think that it might be. I am bitter about a lot of things, but this isn't one of them. I do what I do partly as a compulsion and partly as a hobby, but it's all fine. Anyway, my point is: if I'm going to be a critic, I may as well lay myself open to criticism as well, so here I am - and I'll link to this from my sidebar too - all my major work that is complete (save some serious editing that is probably required, as well as a proofread because no matter how many times I go through things I can never spot every mistake). It's free to read, to copy and to distribute as long as you don't change it and keep my name on it. If you have an opinion - please tell me about it. ( links behind the cutCollapse )