To create art or to entertain? Regardless of whether you write, act, sculpt, or stand on a street corner miming your way out of an imaginary box, this is a question that will probably be raised either by yourself or others. For me at least this one has always been ridiculously easy to answer. From way back in elementary school whenever I would write a goofy story or get up to make a presentation, worrying more about filling it with bad jokes than content, it had always been about entertaining the crowd. I just can’t stand the thought of being boring to people. Whether they’re laughing or crying...hell, whether they’re loving or hating me...it doesn’t matter as long as they’re reacting because if they’re reacting (outside of leaving) then that means they’re probably not bored. That to me was always the goal and as I move into my life as a story writer I find it continues to be my goal.
That’s not to say that art is a bad thing. It’s not and there’s a definite purity to be had in attempting to create it. Is it possible to create art and entertain at the same time? Of course! Don’t be stupid. However, I find the motivations behind each to be two very different mindsets, at least insofar as my observations have shown. For example; several years back I used to be a part of my college’s drama society. Once the actors got out on stage it was difficult to tell our mindsets apart. However, before the show you could always tell the difference between the thespians and the entertainers. The thespians were serious...sometimes (but not always) morbidly so. They were the ones who would go off by themselves beforehand in order to embrace their character...to become their character. The entertainers would often be more social prior to going on stage. Their main concern: knowing their lines, knowing their cues, and making sure not to step on any laughs or applause.
Was one better than the other? No, I don’t think so. At the end of the day as long as each was dedicated to their craft the end results were always good. As for dealing with the two types: personally I always thought the artists had a tendency to be moodier as well as showed a proclivity towards being more pompous. However, in all fairness, I find that entertainers tend to be the far more obnoxious of their two when they put their minds to it...and believe me, we often do.
So too am I beginning to see that difference in the writing world. There are people who just want to spin a good yarn and there are people who want to write the next Tale of Two Cities. I continue to be in that former crowd. My goal is and will continue to be to entertain my readers. That is at the forefront of my mind when I write.
Don’t get me wrong, though, if I somehow wind up creating art (probably by mistake) then that’s great. So be it! I’d be more than happy to be remembered for the ages for some great literary work I have yet to create. Just know that if such a future ever comes to pass and a century from now students in some high brow literature class are debating the socio-political undertones of one of my works...well know that I’ll be looking down (or up) and laughing my ass off.