I used to think that there was no such thing as bad art. Because art is purely a subjective thing, that is defined in part by the person experiencing it. Sure, there are degrees of greatness in art, from the average to the amazing. But, I told myself, bad didn’t exist. Just because one person does not like something, does not make it bad. Or so I used to think.
I seem to have since changed my opinion on this.
We all know I will tolerate many forms of entertainment, and can usually manage to find merit in them, in some way. I watch most TV and will read most books, I will listen to most music. I can mostly find a redeeming quality in any medium. Or I can at least appreciate the work the artist put into it.
Erm. Well, I could. Once. Now I am much more jaded and snarky, apparently. I read a book, by an author, of whom I have read at least 13 previous books. Several pages in, I had an epiphany.
This is not a good book, I thought. This is not good writing. This is, in fact, very bad writing.
Of course I finished the book anyway, and felt mildly guilty and disloyal about my negative thoughts.
I’m sure some would find my writing, (and blogging) to be terrible as well. Everyone has different tastes. But this, I think, goes beyond taste.
In most artistic mediums there really does not seem to be one definitive way of judging somethings merit. Sure, there are technical factors, but take writing for example. As long as writing is grammatically correct and spell-checked, the contents can not, exactly, be defined as bad, can they?
I think that, yes, they can.
You see, for me, words are like puzzle pieces: they fit together in certain ways. They flow. Stories have a cadence to them. A rhythm.
With my blog, I tend to just post things as they come out, from my brain to my hands, with minimal editing. Sure, I run spell-check, usually, and skim through to make sure I’ve got the right words in the right places and most of my I’s are capitalized.
But in all other things I write, I tend to read and re-read and adjust so that the words fit together in a way that just… well, a way that feels right.
In person, I admit, I am not the best communicator. I lose my train of thought halfway through sentences sometimes. But on paper, on keys, I sometimes find my rhythm and weave the words together just so. I enjoy it.
And I enjoy, immensely, reading things written by people who do the same. People who actually treat their writing as art. People who put thought and consideration into the placement of each and every word. People who use those words as magic, to draw us in to their worlds for a time.
Maybe its just that there is a difference between Writer and Artist.