"This Might Not Work … "
Stealing a phrase (above) from Seth Godin, I’m going to try something a little different over the next few weeks and maybe more.
I’m gonna serialize a book I’ve been working on.
The book is about writing.
I don’t have a title yet but the premise is that there’s such a thing as “the artist’s journey.”
The artist’s journey is different from “the hero’s journey.”
The artist’s journey is the process we embark upon once we’ve found our calling, once we know we’re writers but we don’t know yet exactly what we’ll write or how we’ll write it.
These posts will be a bit longer than normal, just because that’s how chapters in a book fall. I don’t wanna post truncated versions that are so short they don’t make sense, just because that’s where chapters happen to break.
Please let me know if you hate this.
I’ll stop if it’s not worth our readers’ time or if our friends find the material boring.
That said, let’s kick it off.
Starting with the epigraph, here’s the beginning of this so-far-untitled book:
I found that what I had desired all my life was not to live—if what others are doing is called living—but to express myself. I realized that I had never had the least interest in living, but only in this which I am doing now, something which is parallel to life, of it at the same time, and beyond it. What is true interests me scarcely at all, nor even what is real; only that interests me which I imagine to be, that which I had stifled every day in order to live.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn
B O O K O N E
T H E H E R O’ S J O U R N E Y
A N D T H E A R T I S T’ S J O U R N E Y
- THE SHAPE OF THE ARTIST’S JOURNEY
Consider the course and contour of this artist’s journey:
Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Born to Run
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Born in the U.S.A.
Tunnel of Love
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Working on a Dream
Or this artist’s:
The Great American Novel
My Life as a Man
The Professor of Desire
The Anatomy Lesson
The Human Stain
The Plot Against America
Or this artist’s:
Ladies of the Canyon
For the Roses
Court and Spark
The Hissing of Summer Lawns
Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter
Wild Things Run Fast
Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
Night Ride Home
Clearly there is a unity (of theme, of voice, of intention) to each of these writers’ bodies of work.
There’s a progression too, isn’t there? The works, considered in sequence, feel like a journey that is moving in a specific direction.
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
The Times They Are a-Changin’
Highway 61 Revisited
Blonde on Blonde
Bringing It All Back Home
Blood on the Tracks
John Wesley Harding
Slow Train Coming
Time Out of Mind
Shadows in the Night
A strong case could be made that the bodies of work cited above (and those of every other artist on the planet) comprise a “hero’s journey,” in the classic Joseph Campbell/C.G. Jung sense.
I have a different interpretation.
I think they represent another journey.
I think they represent “the artist’s journey.”