The Artform of Uncertainty

photo by rromer
photo by rromer

Is it even any good at all?

I’m sure this is not the thing I should be thinking at this stage of the game. Within the last sixteen months, I’ve read hundreds of articles on ‘Marketing for the Self-Published Author’ and none of the advice said to doubt yourself moments before the release of your book. Moreover, doubting yourself publicly is most assuredly an epic fail.

But if I know anything about writers, that’s exactly what we do.

Why is it that confidence and healthy egos are wasted on athletes, politicians and surgeons? Okay, it’s not wasted on surgeons. We all want surgeons to be super-duper confident. But what about us creative types? Why is it not in our genes? Or is it the other way around? Does our roughed-up self-esteem guide us to choose the arts to torture us, I mean express ourselves?

I don’t need the kind of swagger Rambo has. I’d do fine with just a sliver. I’m a little skeptical of people at the other end of the bold-barometer anyway. But it’s my initial reaction to the overly-confident type that always surprises me. For instance, let’s say I’m in the park and I’m sharing a bench with someone I don’t know. It’s a beautiful day and I say aloud, “Wow, the sky is so blue.” And the stranger turns to me and says, “Blue? Where? You mean green, right? That’s the greenest sky I’ve ever seen! The most perfect green. The kind of green sky you only see in movies. Did you say blue?! That’s crazy.” My first reaction to this, as I sit with my mouth open, looking up at the sky and then back down at this pigment-pundit, would not be ‘what kind of smug, aggressively stupid, color-blind crazy no-holding-back impolite stranger is this?’ like maybe it should be. Instead my first thought would probably be, ‘Hmm, green? Could I have been wrong all these years?’

Maybe the very fact that the arts are subjective and open to interpretation and judgment is the very reason artists fear they may not be understood or appreciated. After all, a stock trader has either a winning day or a losing day, a sharp shooter makes his target or doesn’t. There’s no judgment there. If someone hits a homerun in the extra innings of a nail-biter, no one is gonna say it was a lousy homerun.

But a song or a painting or a book or a dance. There will be plenty of interpretations and accolades and criticisms. Everyone will have a unique opinion. I will see something you don’t; you’ll be moved by something that I’ve already forgotten. Art speaks to our personal experiences, whether they are dreams or fears, accomplishments or vulnerabilities. It has the power to bring people together, to heal, to inspire, to stir, to challenge, to shock, to intrigue, to entertain.

Oh, yeah.

I can do that.

No Comments

    • Peggy Natiello

    • 10 years ago

    Writing something myself now, and feel defined by exactly the experience you describe. The miracle is that any words ever get sent for others to read. Ugh!

    1. Well, then, thank God for miracles! You are the only one who can say what you need to say. If you keep that in mind, how can it ever be wrong? Good luck!

    • Lois walter

    • 10 years ago

    Wonderfully said and oh so true.

    1. I guess it will never change . . .

    • Lillie Bryen

    • 10 years ago

    Power to all the self doubting creative people! What a fantastic spin and totally true. No doubt!

    1. “No doubt” – I like it!

    • Jimcstory

    • 10 years ago

    Good show, Eva! Loved this blog post. I’ve read a number of your posts with great pleasure but this one really hits home. Would like to consult with you about the self-publishing experience, since I’m thinking of doing the same thing myself. By the way, did I invite you to my next reading, this Wednesday? May 7? My brain is so porous these days it’s hard to remember. If not, it’s 6pm at the Cornelia Street Cafe.

    What’s the name of your book and where and when can I pick it up?

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Hi Jim, thanks for stopping by. Yes, of course, let’s talk self-publising! I wish I could join you for your reading – I loved coming to the last one – but I can’t on Wednesday. Good luck! Who are you reading with? Is it from your novel? The name of my book is The Memory Box, and you can pick it up on Amazon soon! I will let you know when it’s available. All the best, Eva

  1. How did I miss this? I love it. It rings so true. Off to share it with my other writerly friends…

    1. thanks for stopping by, Kim!

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