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February 21, 2005


Richard Lawrence Cohen

The first paragraph is a good description of an aspect of the creative process. In my experience writing feels like that in many genres. The balancing act between personal involvement and detachment is not just a function of trying to trim the story very short.


Tamar, I agree with Richard as to the significance of the first paragraph. What really caught my attention,however, is your finishing thought as to the similarity or difference between painting and illustration. I felt that you alligned painting with the potential for ambiguity as it relates to "giving away" and the illustative as somehow being more literal and therefore, "actual." I don't know if those are the best terms for me to use, but the thought that comes to my mind is that just because something can be literal, and surely illustaration can, it can also be ambiguous, hiding much! And can we really know ourselves so well as to assume that we "give all away." Or if we try to control just how much we give, do we not limit ourselves to new discoveries? Control can be a very "limiting" thing. And not always in the best way. I don't offer this thought as a criticsm nor do I advocate that we must always wear our heart on our sleeve, this only an observation that I take from my own work; especially painting and my recent attempts at poetry where I hope to discover something I am not already aware of. Otherwise, even if do an abstract painting, with the intention of holding back, then I would be wasting my time with a medium and approach that may have much to offer as to finding new things; either about myself or the medium I work in. I'm not sure where I want to take a discussion like this, but I find your thoughts on the difference between painting and illustration, provided I am somewhat correct in my readinng, very enlightening for me. Especially as to what different mediums of expression have to offer. Then we get into voice and style. Thank you for the courage to talk about it. Oh, one last thought, and this could really go on....I have a similar view as to the difference between EXPRESSION and COMMUNICATION, with painting taking on the role of EXPRESSION. Thanks again for sharing


Hmm. After reading my comment placed directly under Richards, I have to ask myself who the real minimalist is, Richard or moi? Perhaps I'm moving toward the minimal-baroque! Yeah! I Ilke that. There's a discovery! You have me on that "Journey" again Tamar. Thank you.

Matt Bell

Excellent thoughts Tamar, and then I come to the comments and find a discussion worthy of a post on its own. I'm not sure I have much to add, except to say that the issue of communication in art and literature has been on my mind a lot lately. There seems to be a trend in short stories toward the "accurate depiction." What I mean by that is, reviewers, writers, and editors seem to be saying "This story is an accurate depiction of life" or of a certain type of character, ethnicity, social class, whatever. To me, an accurate depiction is fine, I suppose, but what happened to art that asked questions and strove to answer them? What happened to stories that disregarded reality in favor of communion and enlightenment? I don't read or view art to see an accurate depiction of life-- I see that every day with my own eyes. Art and literature are supposed to do something else, I think. Without getting into ideas like "raising conciousness" and that sort of thing, I still believe that art/literature should have bigger goals than merely being a record of "things as they were."

OK, so I went pretty far afield from where I started there, I think, but still-- Your post helped me put some of these things I've been pondering into words. Thank you.


My mind is whirling from this discussion. Richard, Yes I agree about the balancing between personal involvement and detachment taking place in all forms of creative expression. I guess the "limiting myself to 100 words or less" raised different emotions for me that I was trying to explore with that paragraph.

Dan, How daring I was to use "painting" and "illustration" as my comparison, eh? I am intrigued by what you say about this. "And can we really know ourselves so well as to assume that we 'give all away.' Or if we try to control just how much we give, do we not limit ourselves to new discoveries? Control can be a very 'limiting' thing. And not always in the best way." This piece of your discussion encourages me to allow myself to explore my creativity. Very exciting for me - words cannot describe how exciting! I am interested in how you see the difference between "expression" and "communication" because I see them as interrelated.

Matt, Art has a lot of functions. The reality that you already see with your own eyes is interesting in itself. What kind of reality is it that we see with our own eyes? My reality that I see has changed so much as I journey through this life. What I depict as reality can be art for you and vice versa, no? As soon as "I" start to depict something accurately, implicit in it are my biases, childhood dreams, generalizations, imagination. But, yes, I think of art as being communion and enlightenment. I just cannot imagine that I could achieve that! And yet, the poetry of the 100 word essay tickles that for me and ... hmm ... raises hope in me. Does it scare me?

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