If you do something every day, and then you stop doing that something for a period of time, the intervening intermission can have a distancing effect that provides space to reconsider what you were doing before.
This mulling can breed a fresh — or at least a fresher — perspective on that prior doing.
Thought it might sound like I’m referring to Covid here, and how its disruption of our daily norms has incited reappraisals of those norms, I’m actually talking about my recent, medically-induced (I’m fine now! ish) hiatus from Write All Nite.
The subject of my cognitive queries over the past few weeks: what’s the function of what I’m doing on this website? And how do I want to write about the arts to achieve this desired function?
I refuse to call myself a critic, a vocation that’s primarily in the recommendation business, which isn’t my game. I can’t know what you’ll like without knowing you. And even if we’re familiars, there’s always a chance — a good chance;probably more of a chance than not? — that I’ll lead you astray.
Plus, I tend to be the least interested in artistic taste that’s the most similar to my own.
Obviously I realize that the majority of people don’t see everything, because their relationship to art is less about understanding an artistic medium as a whole, and more about “should I consume this art?” Unless you’re a completist, curation is in order.
Which is why critics serve a role.
But that ain’t my role.
“Here’s what I like/dislike, and why” bores me, and I question if yucking someone’s yum is usually necessary, or even worthwhile?
Personally, I prefer to yum someone’s yuck; if we’re all trying to just enjoy as much art as much as possible, shouldn’t we actively seek out ideas that enhance our opinion of that art?
Which is why I used to say that my job is to enlighten art for my readers.
But wtf does that even mean? It’s uselessly vague.
During my time away, I specified the goal a bit:
I aim to brainstorm possible macro-frameworks, steeped in micro minutiae, in order to maximize how much we can take away from a given piece of art.
In other words: what is everything that this piece of art might be about, and how does it go about being about all those things?
In other, other words: what’s the relationship between the what and the how within the piece of art?