Films, Literature, Vampy times!, Writing

Anonymity

Dear Vinepire,

Do you remember watching the make out scenes in your favourite movies as a teenager, or reading steamy dialogue in a piece of erotica and secretly wondering : “How could they do this, knowing that their friends, siblings, spouses, their kids will get to see this?”. Sometimes, I feel the same way about blogging, and I know, there are no kissing scenes on this blog.

But back to the artists : how can they reveal so much about themselves, and I don´t mean nude scenes, but core beliefs, painful memories, dreams, while throwing their work into the public eye? As everyday people, we are bound to social conventions (to a point where we use preconceived opinions about the most mundane things) and to a sense of privacy. We instinctively keep things secret, just for the sake of secrecy. What would that stranger do with information that has only meaning to me, because it is mine? I would still never tell anyone except trusted friends about the day I stood up in front of my literature class and read, without noticing the slightest of sous entendres, a poem by Baudelaire featuring a woman dancing like a snake at the end of a stick… Just to end up listening to a long and elaborate praise from our teacher about the beautiful erotic imagery… I felt like the biggest creep in the universe, and did not look my professor in the eye for at least half of the school year… so yeah, embarrassing would be the word. And yet… I tell it to you, Vinepires… because I am anonymous. But most writers don´t use a pen name, just look at authors of erotica, like 50 Shades of Grey or the Sleeping Beauty series (although Anne Rice started publishing this one under another name, she soon revealed her real identity as author of the work). And there does not seem to be much embarrassment involved…

I admire them for doing it, but just don´t understand the mechanics of that process, and so I turn to you, dear reader, for an explanation for this phenomenon. Why is there no place for blushing, once something is brought into the spotlight?

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire

PS : And don´t hesitate to share some embarrassing stories of yours, I´m feeling left alone here!

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Literature, Writing

Stop the book-DIY!

Dear Vinepire,

The book-sacrifice must stop. I think those crafts are pretty, inspiring, and absolutely unjustified. The thing that disturbs me here is not the use of word-filled pages as artistic material. We always incorporated what was considered precious into our artworks, just look at the marble and expensive paint! We also destroyed what was beautiful (and I´m not referring exclusively to Fontcuberta´s Fauna) to offer to our Muse.

The problem lies in what the owner of the book feels when killing his copy : it will be worth more to me once I can do more with it than reading. Or does anyone cry over the victim of that sacrifice? Of course not, we only rip out the pages we consider covered in worthless material. Now here comes my question : when was the last time you read a book that made no addition to your life? Now don´t mention the bad quality of writing and the insulting ideas it contained. Bad reeds can be good for us, in some ways. They shake awake your sense of critical thinking and boost your self-confidence. Seriously. Stephen King talks about this magical moment, when you lye down a read and think : “I can do better than that!”. And here might be the beginning of a new book, maybe even a good one.

Back to your bookshelf : which book do you regret buying, or think you have lived long enough with? Choose one title, and then go back to the moment you laid it down with relief. Would your values be a foundation just as strong if you haven´t read it? Would the belief in your talent? See, the worst reading-experience of your life was really a beneficial one, just for different reasons. Don´t throw away the rock bottom you can go back to when you need to get reassured, it´s precious.

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire

PS : My worst read was a cookbook (now don´t accuse me of breaking the rules here, if you read a little further, you´ll see that it really was falsely labelled fiction). It was entitled “Recettes Végétariennes” (Vegetarian recipes) and featured a palette of side dishes… I wanted to cut the pages out, and certainly not to transform them into an artwork! The insulting underestimating of vegetarian cuisine it represented, and my disbelief as to the fact that something written with no knowledge about the subject (vegetarians don´t live of grass, there is protein involved!) got actually published were just the perfect foundation for dislike. It still stands proudly on the lowest floor of my kitchen shelf. I flip its pages on days when i lack cooking-inspiration : it makes every other recipe instantly look delicious.

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Writing

You can´t judge the quality of your own writing.

Dear Vinepire,

Did you know what those other writers are saying behind your back? Because I do : you don´t know the true quality of your work! Now don´t be shocked, but I think it might be true…

Here´s the deal. Your words spill out from under your fingertips in a stream so vivid, you can almost feel your ideas flowing. No matter how thoroughly you edit, there will always be some of that heat in your work, forever. And that is probably my favourite thing about the craft, which allows the everyday person to create that sort of hocrux for their imagination. The downside, however, comes into light the moment you compare your take on the book with other´s.

They have not carried those images inside of them, did not let them into the world with as much anguish, and so lack that emotional attachment to the words you so cherish. Don´t hold a grudge against these poor souls, they don´t know any better. Instead, do the only thing in your power and step back from it all. To pass the time during the first storm of readers following your books début (be it in the family circle or on the best-seller list), sit down and remember which work Dickens thought was his best, then laugh about it.

Now whether you decide to open to criticism or not is your decision, but I recommend to trust your opinion the most, even when you´re probably wrong. You will see things that aren´t there, ghosts of talent, shadows cast by mistakes. That´s the price for the privilege of writing what you think, how you think it should appear on the page. So, when those same illusions have set the creation-machine into motion, why should you walk away from something so effective? Trust your erroneous beliefs, and let them become the only ones with the power to make you accept constructive criticism. You´ll stay confident and become more open for advice. And in the end, you can´t know how good your book really is (let alone how long this label will stay with it as the years go by), so you can as swell stop bothering about it altogether.

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire!

PS : Do you remember by how many editors Harry Potter got rejected? That´s something that boosts my writing-confidence!

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