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 Writers Arrogant?

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PostSubject: Writers Arrogant?   Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:09 pm

Just finished watching The Waltons episode, "The Book." In it, John Boy gets a little too big for his britches after his work is accepted for publication, only later to find out, when finding the bill with the book shipment, that he was dealing with a vanity press. At the end, the narrator said something to the effect that writers might be seen as arrogant for putting pen to paper and expecting people to read their work. I guess I can see this in a way but am still digesting it, although I'd certainly never thought of it in quite that light. Just thought I'd throw it out there in case anyone had any thoughts on the subject.
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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:23 pm

Interesting topic, Remuda.

Are writers arrogant? I think some are.

When I write a story, it's to get a story or scene out of my head that won't leave me alone until I get it on paper. I wrestled whether I should post that first challenge and story... Would anyone care or want to read it? I considered how much enjoyment I got out of reading others' stories and decided I wasn't forcing anyone to read my stories, though I have to admit to a thrill when I get a comment or see the numbers of others reading my stuff.

So is a writer arrogant? Is a painter arrogant for painting a picture? I don't think so. Think writing, painting, or other talents are using the gifts you were given.

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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:18 am

An interesting topic. My father was an actor and musician (and wrote too). My mother was a dancer and an actress, my other half is a musician and my sister is a painter. I've grown up with creative people around me. Some family friends were very famous and successful, and some more-talented friends were less lucky for various reasons (less attractive, connections, the genre they prefer is more niche, English may not be their first language), but what they all share is the need to express themselves. In fact it's more of a drive. Even if nobody was there, they'd still be there -singing, dancing, painting, playing and writing.

One thing I have learned is the sheer joy of spontaneous creativity when these people get together - unrehearsed to spark off one another. This is not showing off because it's purely for themselves, it's creativity sparking off itself until it starts to sparkle.

I have seen an incredible tap dance routine in the kitchen at a party in the 1960s, better than anything I've ever seen on stage, and listened to musicians jamming, creating, taking inspiration from the inventiveness of others, until it pushes them all into new areas. Those are some of the best performances I've ever experienced.

Are they arrogant? Possibly - but more usually when they get success too easily, don't have to slog for it, and don't hone their craft. The one thing I do know is that truly creative people are best when they're just being themselves - because it's part of them. If they can find people who enjoy their muse, so much the better.


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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:14 am

Wow. What an eloquent answer from Silverkelpie. Are writers arrogant? I certainly felt far from arrogant the first time I posted a story. It was nerve wracking, and it still is, but it was something I wanted to do, for my own fun. I couldn't believe anybody would want to read anything I wrote and my first vote was so rewarding. Why did I post it? I saw a forum where like-minded people were having fun and I wanted to join in.
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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:07 am

This thread brought to mind the Scottish, er, poet, William Topaz McGonagall.



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-lundberg/the-worst-poet-ever_b_103331.html


Here's an excerpt from the article:


"...Dame Fortune has been very kind to me by endowing me with the genius of poetry. I remember how I felt when I received the spirit of poetry. It was in the year of 1877, and in the month of June, when the flowers were in full bloom. Well, it being the holiday week in Dundee, I was sitting in my back room in Paton's Lane, Dundee, lamenting to myself because I couldn't get to the Highlands on holiday to see the beautiful scenery, when all of a sudden my body got inflamed, and instantly I was seized with a strong desire to write poetry, so strong, in fact, that in imagination I thought I heard a voice crying in my ears--"Write! Write!"


It's a wonder that he never heard the voices crying "Stop! Stop!"

I would not call his belief in his abilities, arrogance. Rather, he comes across as extraordinarily delusional , but not arrogant. The result is that he has earned a unique place in writing history, and his poetry did very well when auctioned recently.
He inspires me, and I will continue to write. Who knows, if I produce something, unintentionally, truely awful, perhaps it too will go down in writing legend, and earn noteriety.



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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:52 am

LOL BeeJay how could I forget McGonalgle!? He takes the need to create to a whole different level. He's the man who created the immortal words:

Oh, Water of Leith! Oh, Water of Leith,
Where the girls go down to wash their teeth.

It makes me want to return to my first love - drink! bottle
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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:36 pm

Very thought provoking question, Remuda. Glad you shared it here. I'll share a few thoughts.


Recently, someone referred to "people like me" as being selfish. My first reaction was to say, no way. My second, was to stop and take a good look at myself and decide if I needed to make some changes. Maybe I need to do the same thing again. Am I arrogant? First, it might help to determine exactly what arrogant means.

arrogant - 1. making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud.

I don't honestly believe that I, or any writer on this forum, have made claims about being superior to other writers, or readers, or about being superior to anyone at all.

Overbearlingly assuming? Maybe. When I write a challenge, I DO assume that people are going to read it, and I DO hope that other writers and readers will make comments. (Constructive criticism is welcome too!) But OVERBEARINGLY assuming? I don't think so.

Insolently proud - Insolent? Meaning disrespectful, rude, or insulting? Gosh, I sure hope I don't treat anyone that way. Proud? Maybe. Sometimes I write something and I think I've done a nice job. I'm proud of that. I don't think that's the same thing as arrogance.

I'm thinking I might use a different word than "arrogant" to describe myself. How about - insecure. If I were a little more confident, maybe I'd be publishing internet stories under my OWN name, rather than using a pen name, wouldn't I? If I were a little more arrogant, I probably wouldn't cringe quite so much when reading an extremely critical review of something I've written.

I suppose some writers might be arrogant. So might some teachers, secretaries, insurance agents, parents, etc.

In John Boy Walton's case, I don't think arrogance was his problem. Maybe he was insecure too, berating himself at having been so gullible as to THINK someone was interested in reading his work, when in fact, they were only interested in making money. He felt used and foolish.

I do think John Boy was proud of his work. Proud and hopeful. He had worked long and hard, and hoped his story might be deemed good enough to be read and appreciated by others.

If that kind of hopeful pride is arrogance, then yeah, I'm arrogant. And I can live with that.

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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:31 pm

Think you covered it nicely Grace!

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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:54 pm

I agree with sistergrace! ;) Very well put too.

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PostSubject: Re: Writers Arrogant?   Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:05 am

I have heard this phrase too. I have met writer's who were arrogant - kind of the reason I know longer go to writer's workshops and groups. I myself, enjoy constructive criticism and often make changes to work with. I will admit, I will defend myself/writing on criticism..because I enjoy a more in depth conversation before taking the points to heart and altering a story. But, I found writers who would flame my writing because they were so much better (in their head maybe). Anyway -- yes writers like any other facet of life can be arrogant. So to alter the question, am I an arrogant writer. I do not believe I am. I would classify myself and a needy writer. I sometimes feel like,
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gimme, gimme, gimme, ... I need, I need, I need, ...
as said by Bill Murray's character in - What About Bob?)

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