is “room for improvement…..”
While I painted outside on the city public art project, I often listened to the New Yorker fiction podcast. Highly recommend it! For some reason, I have always enjoyed painting to spoken word, particularly fiction- more than music- perhaps two different parts of my brain are activated- any neurologists out there could enlighten me on this. The New Yorker fiction editor has authors pick a short story from the fiction archives and they discuss it a bit and then the author reads it.
David Means was recently reading a Raymond Carver short story- “Chef’s House.”
I’ve always enjoyed what Means called Carver’s “clear, accessible style”, comparing the intimacy and quiet loneliness of it to an Edward Hopper painting.
Raymond Carver was highly edited by a former fiction editor at the New Yorker…. sometimes to an extreme in some people’s minds. But at a certain point, he broke free (and had absorbed enough through seeing how to improve his own work?) to say “this enters the world as I wrote it.”
Can something we make, or do or paint always be better in some way?
That’s what drives us in part.
Raymond Carver certainly had a a voice, but his work was so pared down that you had no choice but to move right into the narrative. Too often, there is a slick veneer, a style that attracts one to something. I think this exists in painting….. hence knock-offs of certain styles- otherwise, it would be a huge coincidence that hundreds of painters arrive at the work they do, which just happens to be a poor approximation of someone else’s original thinking /voice / hard-won conclusions.
I wonder if a certain attainment of “style” often covers up lack of skill…… a need to go no further.