Friday, March 12, 2010

Who discovers whom?

I went with my sister to a writer's reading hosted by USC's Masters of Professional Writing program. We were there to listen to Lan Samantha Chang read from her upcoming and not yet released book "All is Forgotten and Nothing is Lost"; as well as to glean any wisdom concerning the art and business of writing in general.

The big draw was of course the writer herself. Samantha is the director of the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop, ranked the #1 graduate program in creative writing in the country. She was insightful and funny, and un-pretentiously or self-consciously so.  She seems a person that knows how to make fun of herself and situation.

One idea that really stuck with me from the night was when Samantha said during the Q&A:
"... It's more important for the younger writer to see the older one, than for the older one to see the younger one. People come to school these days with the hope that their teacher will recognize their spark of genius, take them by the hand, find them an agent, get them published; and I actually don't think that that's a writers education at all. The writers education is about watching other people. It's not about other people seeing you."
How true it is that this generation is always waiting to be discovered! Many-a-persons audition for reality shows in the hopes that they will be discovered to be the next American Idol, the next soul-mate material, the next talent of some kind or another.  (Choose your own category and there'll be someone wanting to be discovered!)  We do not live anymore by looking to those who's come before us, hoping that we don't miss their genius and their depth; instead, we live hoping that others will one day discover us for what we are, somehow unique and precious above the rest.

The point is: we should, as a generation, simply work harder at discovering the genius of those before us.  We should learn how the greats worked hard and passionately to perfect their craft.  Then perhaps one day we will actually be worthy of being discovered when the world eventually realizes just how great we are!

1 comment:

  1. I cannot agree more. This is why we study the classics in art, music and literature.


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