General · reading · Writing

No Vital and Significant Forms of Art

Nor is it any part of my thesis to maintain that it [the detective story] is a vital and significant form of art.There are no vital and significant forms of art; there is only art, and precious little of that.

Raymond Chandler

This quote appeared in an essay I was reading in the beginning of The Art of Murder. It struck me as particularly profound.

I think that is because this past summer I was outside in a public spot reading from my kindle and this random stranger came up to me to find out how it was. She was considering buying one or an iPad for herself. So she happens to mention she writes poetry, I mention I write fantasy and she gives me this look. This look, as in she had just stepped in something disgusting. She said something (rather unconvincingly!) about having something to do and ran off. I was left staring at her.

Clearly, she didn’t approve of fantasy. I can only imagine that’s because she doesn’t think fantasy is art, and a waste of time. Even a waste of time just talking to me; after all, she couldn’t leave fast enough. Well, I am not trying to create art, just something to entertain me, and maybe a few others. Not that I would object if it turned into art. If I polish enough, maybe something will turn into art. But I don’t really think you can write something with the intention of making art and actually produce art. The story comes first; the story is all; you (that is, me!!) need to learn how to tell the best story possible. Maybe then, just maybe, the story will become something more. As the guy says, there is precious little art. Probably because it is so damned difficult to produce.

So . . . yeah, reading that little quote in the essay soothed my ego. Obviously the girl’s speedy departure made an impression on me. She really shouldn’t have; she was a perfect stranger and there is no reason for me to care.

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8 thoughts on “No Vital and Significant Forms of Art

  1. You know you created art when people will put it in a special spot in their room where they can just sit in front of, look at it, and go “wow”.

    And the next time someone looks funny at you because you write fantasy, tell them JW Goethe and ETA Hoffmann wrote fantasy as well. đŸ˜€

      1. On second thought, putting things in that special place in your heart is kind of a natural prerequisite to putting them in special places in your home. So, yeah, it doesn’t matter if you actually put them on display, I guess. /ramble

        1. Doesn’t matter if you are rambling! lol I agree, since most of my favorite pics serve as my wallpaper (I have the kind that changes every half hour) and my books are on my kindle . . . I don’t have a lot of space for objects d’art.

  2. P.S.: There might be so apparently little of it because people just try too damn hard to meet some “standard” created by some self-proclaimed “artists” and related “specialists” who in fact are only pathetic little elitists afraid of losing their power over other people’s opinion. /rant off

    P.P.S.: On an unrelated note, say, you don’t happen to participate in NaNoWriMo as well by any chance?

    1. lol I am not arguing with that.

      No, I am not. I forgot about it until a few days into November when I discovered many, many blog posts talking about it. I might do it next year.

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