I read a chapter of Red Spider White Web by Misha for a writing workshop recently. There was a line that really jumped out to me.
The place was already swarming with craftsmen, and punctuated here and there by real artists.
I’ve thought about this difference several times in the past. Just because someone can put words on paper does not make them a writer. Anyone can put paint on canvas, but that doesn’t make them an artist.
In a lot of ways, it comes back to the question of what art is. It seems like a blurry line sometimes.
The clearest example that comes to mind for me is poetry. I spent a lot of time writing and thinking about poetry in college and came to a few realizations. Just because something has end rhyme does not make it a poem. Anyone with a rhyming dictionary can write a few lines with the same sound in the last few syllables. I’m a big fan of the playwright Tom Stoppard’s definition of poetry:
Poetry is the simultaneous compression of language and expansion of meaning.
Many things can have the appearance of art, but unless the meaning associated with that thing goes beyond the physical object or the words on the page, it’s not really art.
Art transcends the physical medium it is presented in.