Art and Cookies

A few days ago, I came across the following quote, copied and pasted it into a document, and forgot about it. Today, I remembered it as I was struggling to come to terms with the hurdles of having a work of fiction out in the viewing public. The quote is this:

“A good workman can’t be a cheap workman; he can’t be stingy about wasting material, and he cannot compromise. Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand–a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods–or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.”

Willa Cather, “On the Art of Fiction” (1920)

I’d like to think my writing is art. Maybe just that, deciding that’s how I see it, makes it so. I’m not sure. But, what I do know about this: fretting about something out of my control is never useful, or helpful, or good for my mental health. Aiming to make art is.

So, on the rough days, because there will be rough days (and today was one of them), I’m reminding myself that I want to make art. And maybe cookies. Art and cookies. Because cookies are art, too.

All I hope is that there’s room for my art in the world. Please, please, powers-that-be, let there be room for my art in this world.

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4 thoughts on “Art and Cookies

  1. There’s room for your art in the world, even if the world doesn’t yet know quite where to put it.

    Sorry for your rough day. Making art helps, and making cookies helps, too. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Shari. I sure hope you’re right. I know one opinion shouldn’t matter, and I think I’ll get better at handling those opinions as reviews roll in, but when there’s so much pressure to have good sales and good reviews and all the other things that come along with being a debut author (though I suspect it never gets any less stressful), when I read that someone hasn’t liked my book, it’s so disheartening (especially since the process was so tough). I’ve had nightmares that no one will like it, and guh, that’s so not-fun.

      Anyhow. I’m trusting that everything will come out all right in the end. And having friends who leave supportive comments certainly helps! Thank you!

  2. Ah, I was thinking it was the other scary R word that roughened up your day. But reviews–oy. I can only imagine the stress that goes hand in hand with the odd process of having one’s art judged by others. Art isn’t really a thing to be judged, is it? (I see now how well your quote fits: “…the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values”.) Reminds me of something I stumbled across the other day: reviews tell us more about the reviewer than the material being reviewed. I think that’s probably quite often true (or maybe always true). Anyway, chin up, my friend. Your art is beautiful and important and needed, regardless of how it may be judged.

    1. Oh, no, the other R word! I’m pretty Zen with that these days (I tell you, the hide does get tougher!). It’s just…you know how much I went through with this book, right? But, it’s out of my hands and I’m just hoping it finds the right audience. I spent a little time last night reading reviews of some of the books I love, and they’re all over the place – either people get them, or they don’t, it seems, and I kind of knew SHADOWS would fall into that camp. So, though I’d never wish a less-than-stellar review on anyone, it’s good to know books that I love have received them too.

      Also, I keep telling myself: Kirkus liked it, Kirkus like it – that helps! 🙂

      PS: Email coming, hope you’re hanging in there…

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