Re: Vivienne Tufnell’s article: ‘ The short life and unlamented downfall of *Clean Reader* leads to musings on the reader-author relationship’
This article made me think.
Creative people (artists, authors, musicians and everyone else under the creative heading) don’t generally create what they think others want to see/ read/ hear/ experience. At best they can write more of what has been popular before but generally creative people create what their muse tells them too.
That sounds pretentious but it is 100% true.
With authors it is the characters in their heads—imaginary or possibly channelled characters from the past or future who are swirling round in the ether—which tell us what to write about.
I can understand people wanting to ‘get their money’s worth’ when they buy a book. If you are buying a product, you expect it to do what it says on the tin and work exactly the way you want it to.
However, I don’t think the creative world works that way. It’s not a business, it’s a vocation, and can’t be run like a business. If you are buying a creative piece of work, it is a leap of faith for which you have to open your mind and heart. You will know roughly what you are getting but not in detail.
These days, life in the Western world is safe, predictable with few surprises. I believe this had led to an apprehension of what will come. People want to know EXACTLY what they are getting in every scenario, including a book—if they don’t, they are surprised or shocked, and that makes them feel uncomfortable or even angry.
Secondly, money has become the major influence in Western life. We expect to ‘get what we pay for’ and that means a product that confirms exactly to what we expect, which is perfect for us individually.
Thirdly, so many companies these days work by the motto ‘it’s all about you’ or similar, implying that they will do whatever it takes to tailor their products or experiences to the individual. Try looking up ‘it’s all about you message’ on a search engine—you’ll get hundreds of companies proclaiming this.
But sorry, life isn’t predictable. Most of the world’s population does not live in the safe Western world. Things happen out of the blue with no warning, and that is normal. You can’t predict every outcome, so relax and let life flow.
So you didn’t like 100% of a book (or a song, a painting, or sculpture). That is the story the author wrote, the best story they could create and it is a work of creative art, showing the good side and the bad.
Enjoy. You may think about things you didn’t contemplate, or learn things you didn’t know before.