A few days ago, I found my way to a wonderful blog where a gentleman has dedicated his life to writing and his posts to inspire creativity in authors and artists. Patrick Ross is not only a writer, he’s also a writing instructor with The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and his blog is listed in the top ten writer’s blog.
I thoroughly enjoyed his post, “The Balance Between Authenticity and Creativity” and felt that it spoke to me and my daughter. I commented, or really, purged at two in the morning, regarding an argument I keep having with my writing partner, Inion, about marketability versus nonconformity.
Not only did he reply, he said our dilemma inspired a post, and so he wrote another fantastic one: “
Wrestling with Art vs. the Market”. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, trust me when I say, you should swing by and take a look at Patrick’s posts, which are completely brilliant.
Now, back to my dilemma. When you create something, does it hurt you if the market doesn’t call for it? Well, what’s a writer to do? Do you sell out a little and start writing what the market deems worthy material. And, if you do allow the market, literary agents, publishers, to dictate what you write, is that selling out?
Well, of course, it is! I’m no fool, if you submit to the market, it’s going to quell your creative juices and hurt your craft. Not to mention, by the time your done with your “market friendly” piece, the rules have changed and your concept is no longer in the now.
My daughter, who has known from the age of five (no joke), that she wanted to be a writer is a passionate soul that believes the story existed long before the writer and we’re merely tools the story uses to tell itself. (check out her post: https://inionnmathair.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/let-the-story-tell-itself/). And, though I believe that to some degree, I also have the years behind me to know that if you’re not willing to bend a little, you’ll perish.
Let the beating commence.
I realize that writers are readying to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at me over that remark. I wouldn’t expect anything different from fellow artists, people that rely on their hearts to create, and pour everything into their creations. Ah, creative expression. Such a lovely word with such a broad meaning.
It is important to know that when you write with someone else, you have an open mind. You’re unable to demand things go a certain way, because the creation is not your own. When my daughter approached me about forming a writing team six years ago, I was hesitant because of that very fact.
I always have had a wonderful relationship with my daughter, and we’ve counted each other as our best friend. I can’t help, but take a little credit for raising her with a strong sense of family, among many other things… things I try to remember when I’m at the verge of strangling her.
I taught her, at a very young age, that she should never stop following her dreams and never allow someone to sway her in her values. So, in the end, I created the monster. Which she reminds me, every time we have one of our disputes.
I argue that we have to be willing to be current and follow trends, especially because we write Young Adult novels.
She retorts with, “I’m not going to bend to make some literary agent happy and start carving our babies, so I can sell them out to the highest bidder.”
I close my eyes and let out a huff, as I feel her ever present glare, then the resounding, “My mother taught me to fight for what I believe in. You want to be upset, take it up with her.”
My only problem is that at 26 years old, I can’t send her to the corner for time out, or take her N’SYNC CD’s away from her. No worries, she never gets too bad. She’s a southern girl raised right, after all, and she doesn’t ever cross that line to disrespect.
Though we have our normal “three-month-fits”, a term we give to the build up of eighteen hour days without breaks, networking, cleaning, writing… you get the picture. We work pretty smoothly. And, this comes from having a deep respect for each other, not only as mother and daughter, but also as writers and business partners. Our love for our “babies” supersedes any tiffs we have and when we do start up, we walk away. She heads for a free spot outside, far away from her mother’s logical tirade, while I keep to our writing room, taking a break from her opinionated, stubborn, passionate, nonconforming… Yeah, I’ll stop there.
It takes all of three to five hours, (the longest silence was two days from an argument we had over the very first book we wrote. She had wanted our hero to be in his forties, and I said our book would sell better to the Young Adult demographic.)
My daughter is completely intrigued with older leads and has an affinity for romances with middle-aged characters. She believes you don’t reach your sexiest until you’re well past your forties. While women her age are fawning over Robert Pattinson, she loves Gary Oldman, Brian Cox, Bill Nighy.
I knew it from the time she was little and called her my old soul. During our heavy writing stints, I’ll blast Nirvana, and bop my head to Kurt’s scratchy tone, while she rolls her eyes at me, and listens to classical on her Ipod.
It’s an odd pairing, I know, but it flavors the work nicely and gives it an overall balance. We’re not so different, though. It was the similarities in our writing that prompted us to begin this venture in our lives. We belonged to a writing group, and was given an assignment. When we came back the next day, we had practically written the same story. After three or more instances like this, and our writing group telling us we should start writing together, my daughter approached me with the idea. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done, and we’ve never been happier.
Most people that we talk to assume that the relationship has more low points than high, but I have to say that we both love each other and our work so much, that we never allow pettiness to get in the way of either.
After that long-windedness, let’s get down to why I started this post. We have been given a wonderful idea by the talented, Patrick Ross. He said that it would be nice to hear the struggle that most have internally with two sides of themselves, with a writing team that has outwardly battles. So, we thought… why not. Perhaps it will allow us to vent our frustrations. Perhaps it will spawn some brilliant ideas. Perhaps you can all give us your input and decide for us, when we’ve broken even. Perhaps we’ll end up killing each other.
Whatever happens, we’re sure it will only help us grow as writers and for that we give Patrick all of the credit. We hope to have something up in the next few weeks, where we will post our conflicts on the blog. We hope it doesn’t disappoint and that you all don’t hesitate to give us your input… by choosing my side. J Don’t forget to check out http://artistsroad.wordpress.com Thanks again, Patrick.