by Marissa Stanko
Trying to find your identity as a writer is nerve-wracking. There’s pressure on all sides to do certain things or be a certain way or write at certain times and so on and so on. It took me a long time to feel like I was a writer, and even now I struggle with feeling like I don’t write “the right way.” One of the things I always felt forced to justify as a writer, even to myself, is that I like to listen to music while I write, and it isn’t instrumental. Studies, blog posts, and articles galore tell me that I shouldn’t listen to music while I write, or that if I do, it should be classical, instrumental, or a playlist designed to fit the piece I’m working on. Lyrics distract from writing, they say. Music puts your focus somewhere else. And I know for many people, that must be true.
by Mark Krupinski
“Anything and everything can be art!” is, I feel, a deceptively sinister phrase. You could substitute the rather generic “art” in this situation with your medium of choice, be it poetry, film, literature, or what have you, and the situation remains unchanged. It seems innocuous at first, even encouraging. Anything can be art; no matter how lost you may feel, no matter what vision you lack, your expression has merit. You exist and you are valid. As someone who has spent more time than perhaps he’d like to admit pacing fretfully to and fro, hyperventilating into a McDonald’s bag because the words don’t sound the way they’re supposed to, I understand. Writing is a painful, clumsy, often fruitless task, so positive affirmation is as valuable as it is rare. But there’s a danger in creating that sense of comfort, tossing standards by the wayside in favor of blind positivity and confidence. The idea that everything, every single careless, thoughtless, witless, messy, wishy-washy, meandering, pointless thing is art gives me pause.