Book written by Nancy Farmer
Essentially, The Ear, the Eye and the Arm is the reason that we create and consume art. The book expands our horizons, emotionally and intellectually. With apologies to all those authors that I have recommended over the years, this is the book that should be read as a first exposure to science fiction or young adult literature. If you’re well beyond a first exposure and have not read it, then it should be next on your list. It is, simply, the best there is.
So, why did I start writing? No surprise, but it started because of school. I completed some assignments and received some praise. Thus, I was off to the races at a pretty young age. I liked writing poetry because poems were short- no other reason. No matter how long I dragged out the process, the work was done in fairly short order.
Then I saw a play that purported to portray my cohort at the time. I’m talking about down to the last detail- how we behaved and spoke and all that jive. It was written by one of my contemporaries. The run of the play sold well and comments about the play were generally favorable. As far as I know, no one has ever performed the play again. I don’t know what other people thought in private, but I had one overriding idea: “I can do better than that.” So, I dragged out my old Selectric typewriter and wrote a play. I got an M.F.A. for my efforts, but I have also been assured that my play was a load of crap by people who ought to know. Looked back, I side with them.
But that was
certainly not the last time I sat in audience or looked at a painting or read a book and had that creeping feeling- I could do this. I have since learned that it is not a genuine criticism. I can do some things pretty darn well. The fact that someone else has hiked a path that I could hike no longer diminishes their accomplishment in my eyes.
Of course, that is tempered by my understanding of the effort and talent and inspiration that went into the work. That’s the I-could-have-done-that-if-I-had-ever-thought-of-it paradox. Or maybe we want to call it the Jackson Pollack disconnection?
Then, there is the art that I recognize as never appearing in any of my deepest recesses. That is something amazing, if you think about it. Something alien to my nature, an unknown experience, has resonated with me because of the art created by someone I do not know. I could never have come up with The Ear, the Eye and the Arm and yet I have thought about it off and on for almost two decades. I can’t explain it, but I continue to marvel at it.
What’s it all about?
You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 139 more to go.
New additions to You’ve Got to Check This Out release regularly. Also, free humor, short works, and poetry post irregularly. Receive notifications on Facebook by friending or following Craig.
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