Art & Beauty

Question:

What makes a good story?

Answer:

Art and Beauty

For me, fiction writing is an art. I also believe that in any good story, the writer should strive for beauty.

Unfortuantely, this begs the question because I don’t really know what art is or what beauty is, so I must search for it in every story I write.

Here are some noted writers and artists on the subject:

What is art?

Look at works of art.

What’s art for?

To show us reality in a different light.

                       Brenda Lozano, Loop, p 116

Art is nature seen through a temperament.

                        Corot

What is beauty?

Beauty is no material thing.

Beauty cannot be copied.

Beauty is the sensation of pleasure on the mind of the seer.

No thing is beautiful. But all things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at the sight of them. This is beauty.

The art student that should be, and is so rare, is the one whose life is spent in the love and the culture of his personal sensations, the cherishing of his emotions, never undervaluing them, the pleasure of exclaiming them to others, and an eager search for their clearest expression.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit, p 78 

Some of my own writing on the subject of art and beauty:\

I try to address the issue of art and beauty in my story An Artist In The Family, the opening story in my short story collection, Women Are Hard to Figure, (published 1921)

Here are a couple short excerpts from An Artist In The Family:

(The first excerpt touches on the question, What is beauty?)

“That’s where dreams come from,” said Sam.

“What?” I said.

“Dreams come from the things we see and things we hear that make an impression on us. Maybe we don’t even know it – like this scene.”

“What scene?” I said, “You mean Mom hanging laundry?”

“Yeah,” he said, “Exactly. Mom hanging laundry, a scene that shows what it’s like to live in a town like this.”

(The second excerpt touches on the point that Henri makes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not in any thing.)

“Pops,” said Sam, “I figured out today that dreams and art come from the same place.”

“How’s that?”

“I don’t really know, Pops, someplace inside us, somehow, but when they come, they mean something and they, they . . . I don’t know how they do it, but they grab us. You know, they demand attention. You know what I mean, Pops?” Dad stared at Sam but didn’t say anything. 

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