The framing of art forms

Posted by on February 16, 2011 at 8:00 am.

A friend asked me, if I could only pick one, what I considered “my art.” She asked if it was poetry. I said yes, dutifully.

I am, after all, a writer of poetry who would like to have either an audience or a paycheck from those literary ramblings some day — and poetry is “art.” But I’ve been having second thoughts about my answer.

When I asked her what her art was, she said it was “humor.” She is not a stand-up comedian, to the best of my knowledge, but this answer did not surprise me when I took a moment to think it through. I became jealous of her answer. Not because I wanted my art to be humor, but because I wanted an art that could compare to hers.

When she said humor, it speaks more of the process than of the product. Regardless of the manor or method, she could always, in this world where each person is allowed only one art, say that whatever she produced falls within the realm of her art. She got me thinking about why my art would really be.

Obviously, we don’t live in a world where people have to pick a single art to pursue, but maybe I could find a better way to describe what I do than saying something so narrow as poetry or so wide as writing. I’ve been experimenting with fiction and this blog is somewhere between non-fiction and rambling. On top of that, I should probably consider how my art plays in to the work I do when I write the occasional headline for a newspaper.

My search for a new art, or rather, a new way to picture the art I work with, led me to decide that my art is wordplay with a specialization in cliche manipulation. It’s not a perfect definition, and I don’t’ think one can be found, but I’m more comfortable knowing that I’m no longer a poet in the one art world, but instead shall be known as a wordplayer.

But chances are, I’ll cheat and call myself a poet, anyway.

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