The name of the blog comes from three quotes, from three inspirational public figures whom I’ve been following over the last couple of years.
Make Good Art comes from Neil Gaiman, a very successful British writer of fantasy fiction. Specifically it is taken from the commencement speech he gave at the University of the Arts in Philidelphia in 2012. In it, he–rather famously, by this point–said “…when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make. Good. Art.” The speech exploded online. The video circled the net. A webcomic which takes quotes and illustrates them, or uses them to drive otherwise wordless stories used the quote, showing–primarily–a child in a hospital bed with a leg cast being given a set of markers.
And now the speech is an 80-page, hardcover book. Personally, though I very much like the speech and the sentiment it delivers, even I think that’s a tad ridiculous. I really hope that Mr. Gaiman is getting a good percentage on its sales, because otherwise it’s just some shark-publisher capitalizing on his thoughts. I’m all for Mr. Gaiman making money and a living. I hope to be so successful. I’m not for some third party using his creativity and inspirational words to make themselves richer. But, of course, it’s none of my business where the money goes from this book.
Art’s Not Hard: This sentiment was the driving message of the latest album put out by the little-known, but becoming increasingly more known, singer Amanda Palmer–coincidentally, Neil Gaiman’s wife.
Amanda Palmer (also known as Amanda Fucking Palmer, or AFP) was one half of the Punk Cabaret band The Dresden Dolls. Then she started her own solo career on the label Roadrunner Records (now 8ft. Records). She felt the loss of control over her own art, feeling that she was being, in a way, censored by the label in her videos because she didn’t fit the size 0 pop singer mold. After a long campaign to have the label tear up her contract, she finally became her own artist. She spent some time writing songs, and forming her new band. She started a Kickstarter campaign to create her new album, which became wildly successful, becoming over 1000% funded.
The driving inspiration of this blog from her is the song Ukelele Anthem, in which the actual line is “and stop pretending art is hard.” The phrase “Art’s not hard” quickly became a rallying cry for her fans, right along with “we are the media”– which is also true. I was going to expand on this here, but it’s better as its own post, so keep an eye out for that.
Write: It’s… a bit of a cheat to attribute a single word to a specific person. I mean, I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet who spoke a language with a written form has said the word at least once. But specifically, it’s referencing a lengthy quote from another British fantasy author–Terry Pratchett. After having been aware of the books for quite some time (I remember seeing Soul Music on a shelf back when Tower Books was a thing and I followed the Xenomorph bursting out of the ceiling to the Fantasy and Sci Fi section of the local one as a child) I first read one of his Discworld books a couple years back. I grabbed Monstrous Regiment, though I no longer remember why I started with that one. I think it was the one which most appealed to me when I looked at the back.
Terry Pratchett is perhaps even better known as the co-author, with the above mentioned Neil Gaiman, of Good Omens. I… actually have not read Good Omens yet. I really need to.
But as to his contribution to the blog title, Mr. Pratchett said
“Write. For more than three years I wrote more than 400 words every day. I mean, every calendar day. If for some reason, in those pre-portable days, I couldn’t get to a keyboard, I wrote hard the previous night and caught up the following day, and if it ever seemed that it was easy to do the average I upped the average. I also did a hell of a lot of editing afterwards but the point was there was something there to edit. I had a more than full-time job as well. I hate to say this, but most of the successful (well, okay… rich) authors I know seem to put ‘application’ around the top of the list of How-to-do-its. Tough but true.”
And so that’s what this blog is. It is my place to write at least 400 words a day. I started this blog as a place to put whatever I feel like writing on a given day. I’ve made blogs in the past, but generally as repositories of specific stories (Aesoterica, an urban fantasy story, and The Chronicles of Baragos, a traditional fantasy story following an elven barbarian) which went nowhere, but may go somewhere eventually.
This blog is much more generalized. I just need to be writing and drawing, and here’s a place to put it. With a place to put it, there will be more pressure to get something done each day. With something done each day, I build a presence online, and can get feedback.
The Day’s Count: 881