Staying Sane in the Arts

Staying Sane in the Arts by Eric Maisel

I am vaguely dissatisfied with this book. Many writers I know think very highly of Eric Maisel and I wanted to see what he was about.

Maybe this isn’t a good representative work. I don’t know. It’s light on philosophy. Honestly, it’s light on everything. The breadth of this book is enormous. It strives to encompass artists of all natures at every stage in their careers. It wants to offer advice to the struggling unknown and the superstar. To the concert musician, the painter, and the poet. All in 250 pages.

Also, there are a few basic tenants that don’t agree with. I don’t believe there is a fundamental difference between “artists” & “non-artists” and “art” & “genre art.” I believe it takes as much creativity to be a great engineer as a great novelist. Granted, there is a difference in what abilities people have and how their jobs are structured, but it’s a disservice to view “art” in vaguely mythological terms. And while it’s good to talk about the compromises one might make in an effort to make a living in art, commercial art is kind of bad-mouthed. Which doesn’t fly when your audience is a “genre” writer.

Maybe I shouldn’t have read it all at once. Do people read self-help books straight through? There are a few good suggestions for guided writing exercises, but nothing ever truly gelled for me.

Other Notes:

Very broad, unscientific view of “madness.”

I also have a tendency to not think of artists as being different from others.

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