Share, Listen, Think

Art

“What is beauty saith my sufferings, then?

If all the pens that ever poets held

Had fed the feeling of their masters’ thoughts,

And every sweetness that inspired their hearts,

Their minds, and muses on admired themes:

If all the heavenly quintessence they still

From their immortal flowers of Poesy,

Wherein as in a mirror we perceive

The highest reaches of a human wit;

If these had made one poem’s period,

And all combined in beauty’s worthiness,

Yet should there hover in their restless heads

One thought, one grace, one wonder at the least,

Which into words no virtue can digest.

 

Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine the Great (1590)

(Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Quotations)

 

“A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.”  Oscar Wilde  (brainyquote.com)

 

When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist; Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work, and so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly than he knew; Rembrandt’s brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend.

When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.”  

Madeleine L’Engle (Walking on Water)

 

When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.

Paul Cezanne

 

Flawed and false storytelling is forced to substitute spectacle for substance, trickery for truth. Weak stories, desperate to hold audience attention, degenerate into multimillion-dollar razzle-dazzle demo reels. In Hollywood imagery becomes more and more extravagant, in Europe more and more decorative. The behavior of actors becomes more and more histrionic, more and more lewd, more and more violent. Music and sound effects become increasingly tumultuous. The total effect transudes into the grotesque. A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society. If not, as Yeats warned, “… the centre can not hold.

Robert McKee, Story 

(The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, by Noah Lukeman)

 

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