Busy couple of weeks in publishing: Macmillan and Penguin are girding for battle with the Department of Justice, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction went unawarded, The Atlantic published a gratuitously nasty review of The Art of Fielding, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/a-swing-and-a-miss/8943/ and a writer I know keeps sending me links to stories heralding the end of books. I’m tempted not to finish my blog post in case I’m trampled by a horseman of the apocalypse or raptured away.
Wait… Nope. Still here.
I like to think of myself as an even-keel, unflappable type (luckily, none of my siblings ever read this blog, so there is no one to dispute this claim) but even I found myself muttering angrily to myself over the last week or so, wondering if Eric Holder couldn’t find some better use of his time. A cursory glance at the headlines confirms that there is no shortage of systemic and perhaps more pressing injustice to which the DOJ might attend.
After reading this piece, http://www.oregonlive.com/performance/index.ssf/2012/04/steve_jobs_adrienne_rich_mark.html however, I have resolved to channel my frustration in positive ways. Start a tech company, maybe. Paint a modernist masterpiece–floating red rectangles might be right. Indeed, David Stabler at the Oregonian examines anger as a source of creativity. He looks at Steve Jobs, the painter Mark Rothko and poet Adrienne Rich, none of whom, you might note, are alive to “go thermonuclear” or otherwise argue with his thesis. I’m not entirely sure I buy it, seems too closely related to the specious notion that artists ought to suffer, a subject the Guardian took on a few weeks back. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/apr/02/myth-of-the-suffering-artist
What do you think? Does anger fuel your writing? Or does apoplexy stifle your muse? Meanwhile, I’ll be sure to let you know if my irritation gives birth to something brilliant.