Friday, 16 July 2010

Art is the gateway to our soul

'Harry,' said Basil Hallward, looking him straight in the face, 'every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul.'
Wilde, 1890

The above extract is from The Picture of Dorian Gray - Basil (the painter of the infamous picture in question) has a lengthy discussion with his friend Lord Henry Wotton about why he is reluctant to display the portrait.

Is this the reason why people are reluctant to show off their work? I can see there's something very personal about a piece of art, including writing. It's almost as if, by writing a moving, emotional scene, you are exposing yourself to the reader as if you were genuinely in that scene.

Oscar Wilde had a lot to say about art and writing, but what do you think? Is there something extremely personal about writing? Are you the sort of person who won't show their work around? Or are you perfectly fine with anyone and everyone reading what you've done?

I think I'm somewhere in the middle. There are some people I wouldn't want to read certain aspects of my writing, but that's mainly because it would be massively uncomfortable. But in the end, if these things get filmed, they're bound to be seen eventually.

Let me know what you think.....


Adaddinsane said...

I'd say that's true in writing.

Which means a writer is someone who is willing to bare their soul to anyone.

An uncomfortable truth.

(And today's confirmation word is "sweatte": a swine-herd's call for his beloved "SWEEE-ATTE!!!".)

Tom Murphy said...

Even after 16 years of marriage, I'm really reluctant to let the missus (also a writer) read anything I've written, in case she decides it's rubbish, realises I'm a fraud and a dullard and decides to pack her bags. I'm much happier for total strangers to read my stuff (once I'm relatively satisfied with it).

I should qualify all that by adding that most of my stuff is fairly flippant and non-controversial. Although I have had the title "The Only White Cunt on the Bus" sat in a notebook for a while, waiting for the right character.

Muadgib said...

If the scene you've written to be earnestly moving comes across as naive and mawkish, does the writing need work or does it perfectly express your actual naivete and mawkishness?

I feel this sort of anxiety just putting pen to paper, let alone loosing the result into the wild for people to read. It seems to me a fixture of all creative endeavour... I envy anyone strong, confident or oblivious enough not to grapple with it daily!

Muadgib said...

...and isn't everyone at least a tiny bit totally shitscared of being too much of a hack to even know they are?

Neil said...

Interesting thoughts.

I think I'd much rather SEE people what I've written on the screen, rather than them looking at the raw script on the page. Afterall, we don't want them to see how bad it was before the director got hold of it...