I envy artists. You know, the people who put their talents, and quite often their very souls, right in front of you to see. You see their effort, their product, their thoughts and interpretations as they meant you to see them as soon as there are created or unveiled. I, however, am a lowly writer. My product, as individual and original as I intend, never gets to the printed page without someone altering what I create. When I use my fingers and my wit to translate my verbal image into a permanent record, no one but me see can see the original. Even the original is only a nebulous thought that often contorts and becomes a victim of intellectual metamorphosis. Sometimes an entire thought is swept away by a simple distraction, lost forever. Like the purpose of this paragraph! Seriously, I have often wished a thought could miraculously appear on my computer screen before I compound what I was trying to say! If I only had a paint brush!
Editors can say I didn't following grammatical protocol when I used the blue oil from my palette. It should have had more green than yellow because my color simply shouldn't look like that. That is regardless of the image I, and I alone, created, but they can not see because they have to focus their vision through the eyepiece of academia.
Maybe it is my shadowing. It simply can't be applied in the corners of my description because of some 18th century rule about gerunds, or infinitives, or some other idiosyncratic restriction that detracts from the image I alone want to portray. When Henry Alford wrote in his 1864 book, The Queen's English, he admonished writers from splitting infinitives. It is a good thing the writers from Star Trek weren't looking at the past when they wrote “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” And the restriction against beginning a sentence with a conjunction sucks, too! Sometimes my image only has one word! There! That blasts the idiom rule and the one word sentence restriction rather easily. Perhaps that is the problem. No one but me can see the image I create. Or is it, I alone can see the image I create? How do I get my image to you without corruption? How do I get it in print without being filtered, trimmed, or perhaps simply misinterpreted completely? If someone plays with an interpretation, alters it and makes it their own, it would be is as if every sculpture, every monument would have the corrections of a critic applied before you see it. Every statue would have a plaster patch stuck on somewhere. Every painting would be touched up, color corrected before being hung on a galley wall. In writing, the editor is the critic who controls the creative results that end up in front of you, the reader. I apply my creation to a mechanical medium and find immediately it must conform to certain constraints and limits.
Without an editor, an author has little chance in the literary world. You may purchase a work of art based on your tastes regardless of a critic's comments. As long as I have an editor, however, there is a chance you may not see what I saw. My image then belongs solely to me. Can I get it to you without sounding like an uneducated cretin? Certainly, but you have to like the box it comes in. And I didn't get to design the box. How I envy artists!
But now the World Wide Web offers a resource unlike any other in mankind's history. One that allows anyone with a computer and access to the Internet the ability to offer the electronic world pages of writing that can be read anywhere in the world at any time. Entire books are written, shipped and read all over the world without using a single piece of paper! The written products by-pass the editors and are delivered directly to the critics, the ones who read, or delete, what ever is available. Readers, bloggers, and down-loaders have become the de facto editors. Writers have a brand new medium! We even get to design our own boxes.
"I Envy Artists" was published in the "The Florida Writer" Vol 5, No. 2, 2011