Writer Culture Fatigue

I've been thinking a lot recently about the defects of writer culture. You know what I'm talking about: we become experts on not only MFA programs but also literary journals, artist colonies + residencies, agents + editors, contests + book publishers. We start to form a rolodex in our mind of important writers we've read, worked with, know gossip about. We drop casual workshop jargon in our craft conversations as if art is dead, some sort of clinical experiment that involves goggles, rubber gloves + a fucking pencil knife. Unconsciously, we begin amassing a long list of craft maxims, followed by an even longer list of craft exceptions, obscurity-to-fame stories, industry gripes and undeserved success stories.

I guess we do this not only because writing is our life, but because all of this stuff makes us feel somehow like we're just a little closer to making it--whatever making it means these days. I'm sympathetic to all of this shit + I'm guilty of all these things too. But now I'm starting to think that:

1. While the average technical ability of a fiction writer today is much higher than it was a 100 years ago, I feel like there is also very little original art being created in America's workshops, which is troubling

2. While important, networking should never replace great writing. Ditto with name-dropping, program nepotism + market saturation.

3. Great art should trump everything else, and somehow, in this age of self-publishing, bottom lines, sell-throughs, contractual fine print, cost benefit analysis, great writing isn't making it to the bookshelves enough, and I'm not just saying that because I haven't found a publishing house yet for BLANK.

4. I don't like talking about writing anymore. Let me qualify that. For years now, I've felt like I'm not talking about writing for the right reasons. By that I mean, I no longer talk about writing because it's changing my life, but because I'm examining it, which, in a way, belittles writing. When writing stops being about great ideas + powerful narratives + starts being about narratives arcs, backstory, dialogue + flashbacks, I think the battle is already lost. I don't mind technical analysis, but the point is to analyze technique in order to improve the transmission of art, not to improve the technique itself. Isn't the ultimate goal of writing to produce art? Wait, before you bark back another writing platitude, think about that. Has writing + art become separate mediums? Because to me, it feels like the goal of writing has changed from creating art that is ambitious, socially-conscious + emotionally powerful into producing technically competent writing, as if that's the goal, as if writing isn't art anymore, but a form of circular logic whose ultimate destination is itself.

Whatever writing is, for me, it is above all else, art, motherfuckers. It's supposed to provoke, speculate, create, engage, analyze, move, inspire, devastate, reify, push and pull, twirl in circles, slur, slap, arouse, infect, overwhelm, exhale, fly, imagine, dare, delight, infuriate, affect, teach, hurt, open up, give voice to + often, scare us. If it doesn't do that, some of that, any of that + so much more, then I don't want to read it, whatever it is, no matter how well written it is, I'm just not interested. Medical journals are extremely well edited + technically polished, but yo, they don't fucking have what I need.