So I’m about to rant. I know…you’re saying to yourself, “Oscar, you always rant.” But this is going to be a special kind of rant. I’m going to unburden myself with all the reasons why artists need to be supported. In every way, emotionally and financially. We don’t live in an age of benefactors! If artists are going to be the voice for the under-heard and disadvantaged, then we need fuel for the fire, we need people surrounding us and giving us the energy to keep fighting.
Champions endure the hardest hits–psychological and emotional–and carry themselves forward with the idealism needed to see through the most barren desert landscapes. We’re charged with getting an education and then returning home to make things better. We’re up for the challenge. But we can’t be surprised when we get hit on both sides of the drum.
There you are enjoying the advantages of not being accountable and then a writer moves in next door. At first you think, “Oh, this will be interesting…to have an artist type in the community,” and then you realize writers write. More importantly, writers stand up for the weak, abused, and disadvantaged.
I was in grad school when a professor asked, “What metaphor would you use to describe how power structures stay intact?” We were studying Faucoult and had come to his explanation of how individuals give up their power to others, with his example of a moving ship and how everyone does their part to keep the ship moving forward and are in fear of what would happen if the ship stopped moving. I agree with Faucoult’s analogy. It makes sense in most situations. In a modern context though, I’m thinking more along the lines of interstates.
I don’t denounce structuralism. Every time I watch a Disney or Pixar movie with my daughters and tears start welling up in my eyes by simple structural tactics, like music and camera angles, I’m reminded there is a reason it works. But I’m a literary writer and we are defiant bastards and we like to take structuralism and bend it our will. So we can look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “The industry will not make me a slave.”
How to hear? Not to listen, like saying “You need to pay attention,” but instead how we create consistency in our voice as artists. How do we hear voice? How do we recognize what is uniquely our own? Is one obstacle. Then the next. How do we reproduce it again and again?