Being of an introverted nature, you would think that I would not wish to expose myself to all manner of slings and arrows of social criticism. But that is exactly what every creative being – author, painter, poet, musician, etc. – must do if they seek to establish a career or find an audience for their particular gift.
Having the gall to call oneself an author or artist is itself inviting the all too willing criticism of others who have their own preconceived notions of what an author or artist really is. By plain definition, an author is one who writes a piece of writing or book. Therefore, all of those clever essays and book reports we wrote back in school qualifies us all as authors, technically. The same is true for being a painter. The value or quality of what has been created is a different matter, however, for it falls upon the audience to determine, much as it falls to a jury to sentence one to acquittal, punishment or death.
Nowadays, it seems that there is a new age of acceptance — indeed, encouragement — for creative individuals who wish to be a writer or artist. Yet, it is no less perilous out there for those of us who extend our wary hands into the darkness, hoping to make a positive connection with our proposed audience. It is a frightening experience, which in time may or may not become less so, to leave oneself vulnerable to the will of the mob. Some writers seek to mitigate the danger of having one’s ego slashed to bloody shreds by using a “pen name” which offers some measure as a buffer from being directly assaulted, yet not any less painful.
I pray that the world audience at large will think more kindly of authors and artists, for they have the uncommon courage to open those creaky doors, stumble about in the dark, and run in the direction of the freakish monster (i.e. the audience). For what could be more horrifying than devastatingly bad reviews of one’s creative output – that mad unholy creation given artificial life which cost the author much sweat, tears and maybe a lot of flashy electrical equipment?