While online articles can be entertaining and informative, what’s even better is reading the thoughtful comments associated with them. Of course, not every online article generates comments, but some generate reams of comments, creating an online saga of sorts.
On October 2, 2012, The New Yorker published a post by Joshua Clover on its Culture Desk blog regarding musician Amanda Palmer, who tends to get her music out to fans in unconventional ways. She is also in constant communication with fans via her blog and Twitter feed. Recently she funded the recording of an album via Kickstarter. In The New Yorker article, Joshua Clover takes issue with the way she handled the funds. Palmer’s fans have stepped up to defend her within the comments.
And that’s where this blog post begins … after reading a handful of the comments that insinuated Amanda was narcissistic. Well! If Amanda is narcissistic because she shares her life and musicianship with others, then I am a narcissist too.
So is every creative person who makes something and puts it out there for all to experience. As a writer, I have to be a narcissist in order to think that my words are important enough to share.
Narcissism in creators is balanced by courage. It takes big courage to throw our creations out into an unfriendly world, where they are certain to be speared with criticism and, by association, we are sure to be speared too.
Can you be a writer/artist/musician without being a narcissist? Yep. If you make your work completely in private and never put it out there. However, you have no courage.
If you’re making work and hiding it in the hopes that someone finds it after you’re dead, you’re a narcissist who lacks courage.
So, please, creators, be courageous narcissists. Make your work, send it into the world, and grab a shield to defend against the spears that are sure to fly your way. (We should all be so fortunate to have the volume of passionate fans Amanda has.)