Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 47

There is a distinction I must make about myself as a writer that I have not been able to accept just yet.

I am a storyteller.

This title of "storyteller" has many different connotations.  One of which, in the literary world, is negative.  For those of you who have partaken of this "world", the definition of the word "storyteller" pretty much is equated with a poor writer.  Its those writers who lower their standards either because they don't know what the high standards are or because they are forced to due to their lack of skills.  Either way, it is a demeaning title.

Every art has their snobbishness.  Fine arts, music, movie making, etc. all have their own level of the "in crowd" and the "not in crowd" which is distinguished by the amount of knowledge and/or skill that person has.  In the literary world, to be a true writer, one must write "literature".  This esteemed form of fiction (generally) is what one must achieve to truly be considered a writer.  Your work must have the potential to confuse and thus people can write literary essays on it.  Your work may even live beyond yourself.  THAT, my friends, its literature.

In those terms, I am not a writer.  I am a storyteller.  I write "genre fiction" or the stories that the general public can read and understand.  And if the general public can understand it, then it is obviously not genuine literature.

Half of the art of storytelling is learning to accept this fact.  I use the word "accept" here loosely because it can hold different meanings.  What I really mean to say is that you accept your position as a storyteller with pride and courage.  You understand that the belittling nature of the literary world is just merely so that there can be distinguishing factors.  You don't really worry about your work becoming the next thing college freshmen write their essays about.  You just want your work to be read and appreciated.  You want your characters to shine rather than spill your latest warped world view.  You embrace the intricacy of a story and how to tell it well.

I am a storyteller, but I'm still trying to fit in the shoes.  Only time will tell.