8.29.2011

Glitter and Buttons

A blogalectic with Masha and Mr. Pond.

For last week's impressions, Masha wrote an illuminating post about her disappointment with the ideas she finds connoted by the word talent. And Mr. Pond wrote a magical little piece of flash fiction. Links enclosed for your reading pleasure.

This week's word: craft.

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Maybe it's having grown up in Sunday Schools and art fairs, but the word craft first brings to mind ribbons and Elmer's glue and the innumerable possibilities of pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks. Or, on a more adult level, frilly handmade refrigerator magnets and knick knacks. Kitsch. The kind of stuff that's fun to make, but mostly just clutter.

My mind's next turn upon the word is more positive. The woodworker, shaping by saw and plane and chisel and lathe. The potter, forming cups from spinning wet clay. The quilter, stitching in curves and lines across her patchwork.  The weaver, alternating treadles, passing the shuttle back and forth through the warp. The gardener, settling tiny green starts into the earth not for what they are, but for what they will grow to be. And so on.

The word is associated with writing in my mind, too, as published writers often tell aspiring ones to learn their craft. For me, that means endless hours of laying words into sentence forms and smoothing them over. It means reading, editing, re-reading, and re-editing everything I write until I can no longer see the words. And it means polishing a story or an essay until it reflects my gaze back at me, like a mirror.

4 comments:

  1. Learning craft is so important to writing, like it is to any other art-- music, painting, potting, and all the things you mentioned here. I think you can't usually achieve the ART of something until you have taken the time to learn the CRAFT of it. Practice, practice, practice, just like you said!

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  2. Excellent point, Shallee. I totally agree.

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  3. Yes, I also agree. To me the word "craft" means to form, shape, and perfect (as much as possible).

    As I wrote earlier about genius and talent, talent makes genius a reality. See it like a pyramid, with craft as the base: craft > talent > genius. Craft is the workhorse of talent, and talent is the workhorse of genius/vision.

    --Arabella

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  4. "Craft is the workhorse of talent, and talent is the workhorse of genius/vision."

    I like that, Arabella. And I forgot about the use of "craft" as a verb... good point. :)

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