Monday, October 06, 2008

Getting a Backbone

Making the Cut

"On my shelf I got titles Other artists want belts and idols World cups from seminars and conventions Competition and not to mention The award shows for pimps and hoes And every other hypocrite that flaunt their clothes."- Boogie Down Productions from House Nigga

"But the real scandal of Engdahl's comments is not that they revealed a secret bias on the part of the Swedish Academy. It is that Engdahl made official what has long been obvious to
anyone paying attention: The Nobel committee has no clue about American literature. America should respond not by imploring the committee for a fairer hearing but by seceding, once and for all, from the sham that the Nobel Prize for literature has become."- Adam Kirsh from Nobel Gas:The Swedes have no clue about American literature.

Chris LeDeoux once told me to put more stock in myself than in awards, and then went on to take every production award available that evening. Yet, from the quotes above, I understand more what Chris meant. He knew his judges and competition very well and knew his chances. He showed up to the award show because he knew he would win. He didn't bother with those where the judges' tastes or the philosophy of the panel were not aligned with his own work. As I research magazines to submit my work, I must keep in mind that many editors will not share my tastes. It doesn't mean my work is bad, it just means I don't need to bother showing up to their award show. This kind of grit is something Chris felt every artist should develop. Dale Mitchell called it "getting a backbone." Yet, for years I hesitated developing this kind of chutzpa because I worried about being rude; however Ivan and I have come to the conclusion that pleasers get eaten alive and genius is hated. That means people hate you on either end of the spectrum. In the middle (that gray area people ignore) is mediocrity (this is why we ignore it).

Contemplating the Decades After

"Is it even possible to apply the word love to a relationship between a woman and the man who owns her? Can we ever know what was in Jefferson's and Hemings's hearts, given the cloak of secrecy that they and their society conspired to draw around their relationship?"-Adam Kirsh from A Peculiar Association: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

Perhaps a random quote, but I realized after reading this article that my own writing asks this very same question. Slavery exists in my science fiction world. People own people and love the people they own. It is this Jefferson-Hemings relationship repeated and re-examined. It is a metaphor for our current struggles physically and emotionally. It is something I struggled with before I married Phil. The fact that I don't struggle with is anymore is shocking and the answer seems simple; but I know the effort in which Phil and I go to making a marriage work is beyond what most people are willing to give. And so I write about the personalities that don't negotiate, or try and fail, or try and succeed intermittently; the personalities that still seek to own each other because they need to cling/grasp onto something in this world. Perhaps it is equally ironic that I spent my weekend photographing a wedding. They were a young couple, polar opposites in personality. She smiled less frequently than he, who engaged in numerous practical jokes through out the evening. Not to say that she was totally serious. She danced and enjoyed the company of her girlfriends and truthfully her lack of giddiness, giggliness, and other stereotypical girlie traits seemed to be just who she was. Perhaps people would look to his funloving extroverted personality and think otherwise, but I see the opposition as a good thing. I think it will go a long way of contributing to a solid marriage. Especially if they remember to always respect those difference.

That said. I am off. I have a long day ahead and much to get done. My writing classes begin this week. I have forwarded my potential Adagio Verse Quarterly chapbook submission to a fellow writer for review. I also have a goal of three submission for this week. This is in addition to my regular housework, dance, and whatever else I have on the agenda. I'll write more later... Peace... RK

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