What if Your Practicality Is Perceived as Amateurism and Disregard?

There are Wicked Darlings who haven’t been terribly excited about my decision to merge my fiction writing and personal blogging. They liked the former separation; some aren’t interested in my witchy bits, others don’t enjoy fiction. One of them said that she is in love with AlmaMia Cienfuegos’ story, but feels “ill-at-ease when having to visit Pagan Culture to check for AlmaMia updates.”  

This person and I have been exchanging emails on the subject for about two weeks. A couple of days ago, she brought other readers and a few writers into the conversation… I was okay with that; the more the merrier, right? Then a comment was made about “certain kinds of artists trying to use their creations to shove their ideas down consumers’ throats.”

I didn’t get the chance to reply to the comment because the person who started the discussion removed the individual who issued the statement. It seems that he had added some pretty awful things to his original assumptions. But unlucky missed them all.

Those of us interested in healthy debate continued poking at the topic. One of the contributors brought up the following point: “Police officers, accountants, psychologists and other professionals keep their work and personal lives separate. Can we call ourselves professional artists when our personal lives are indistinguishable from our artistic pursuits?”             

I thought it was a great question. One that required an answer shaped by the way each artist relates to her or his work. I, for instance, write with an open heart. No, my Wicked Darlings, not with the blood-pumping muscle itself, for that would be hell on my keyboard. I mean that “I am a social-justice-aware-Dominican-Marine-witchy-woman-who-loves-to-write-read-and-dream-dark-fiction. My experiences, dreams, nightmares, and the emotions inspired by those who touch my life feed my stories. The things I write about (and the way I write them) are affected by the people I interact with on and off line. I feel that it is beneficial, authentic and practical to present a complete self.”

Many agreed with my response, but one said that “as pretty as that might sound, the blending of personal life and fiction writing might be taken as telltales of a writer’s amateurism and her disregard for the feelings of her audience.”  

My first reaction was sadness because I knew where the conversation was going. Then I got irritated, for I’ve visited that place before and I still dislike the way it smells. To avoid unnecessary confusion, I chose to spank the huge pink elephant in the room, and said: “Let’s pretend that comment was meant for me alone. How exactly would my sharing of my personal life be seen as lack of respect for my readers?”      

Crickets…

No one felt like saying anything for a long time, so we left the conversation there last night. We will probably resume the exchange this evening. Until then, I want to ask you a set of similar questions:

1. In what scenario, if any, would you rather not know about the life of an artist whose work you enjoy?
2. If you are an artist, do you keep your work and life separate or together? Why?
3. Do you think that my decision to share my life and fiction in the same blog weakens or strengthens my storytelling? Why?     
 
“imaginary gardens with real toads in them” ~Marianne Moore

75 comments:

  1. Good questions. And as you know, I've struggled with similar concerns and separations of my artistic and every day life. The way I look at it is this; art IS my everyday life. So why separate them? To answer your questions though;

    1. In what scenario, if any, would you rather not know about the life of an artist whose work you enjoy?

    Never. And that's completely honesty on my part. I LOVE getting to know more about the person behind my favorite writings and art works. It drives me completely insane that so many details of the lives of artists who died long before my time were never recorded and have been lost to history. :(

    2. If you are an artist, do you keep your work and life separate or together? Why?

    Nope! I did for a while, but I absolutely HATED it. I never wrote in my art blog because it felt forced, boring and contrived. Like, if I were going to separate the two things, I needed to keep the art blog to simply show process and pictures - removing myself entirely from the equation. For me, creating is such a spiritual and emotional thing so much of the time that taking the emotional/personal stuff out of the creation story left the post as a single picture with some size and medium specifications. A hollow, soulless shell that was simply pretty. But with no firey spirit or emotion.

    3. Do you think that my decision to share my life and fiction in the same blog weakens or strengthens my storytelling? Why?

    I think it strengthens it. Because not only do we get to read the writing, but see what inspired it. Without knowing of you and your background, stories like Alma Mia would have lost something for me. Knowing that it's an example, in some ways, of art imitating life made the story better for me.

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    1. I can see why you hated keeping things separate. It didn't feel comfortable for me, either. It just hurts to split our selves into pieces...

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  2. My initial reaction to this was irritation. What gives anyone the *right* to tell another how to live their life? Then I read it again.

    While I still feel a bit irritated, I can see where some may be limited in their ability to distinguish between reality and fiction and have the need to keep them in separate boxes.

    I for one thoroughly enjoy reading about each facet of your life, whether it is your personal life through your blogging, or the growth of your characters. I *LIKE* the way you have things set up now all in one place and easily accessible.

    I do not classify myself a writer in the sense many do. All I have is my blog where I mostly write about the happenings in my personal life, but I have been known to share an original work of fiction as the Muse strikes. To answer point 2, everything I do is jumbled together and I don't see me changing any of that in the near future.

    I believe the combining of your life with the stories you tell can only add to the outcome. It gives an inside look at where the stories come from and I enjoy knowing the real you as well as the author behind the words.

    Don't change my Darling Magaly! You are YOU and that's what makes everything you do so amazing!!!

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    1. Hm... It didn't even occurred to me that what might bother a person is the inability to see where reality ends and fiction begins. Super interesting point, Vickie. I might have to explore it... ;-)

      And about your fiction, I do hope your write more. I love what I've read...

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  3. I can't make a blanket statement on this (as a reader) - I can say, again, as a reader, that when it comes to YOU, Magaly, I don't think there is any possible way for you to separate your art from your life because you live your life as a work of art. An artificial separation for the portion of that art that is written fiction is a choice, but certainly not a necessary one or one tha t speaks to any sort of inherent rule you Must Follow to Be Taken Seriously. In fact, this: "“as pretty as that might sound, the blending of personal life and fiction writing might be taken as telltales of a writer’s amateurism and her disregard for the feelings of her audience.” sounds to me like Dogma - someone's personal preference being passed off as concrete Truth, and I have not noticed (from ether being allowed to witness parts of your personal life OR gleaned from your fictional themes) that Dogma has much place in your life. Perhaps the blend of personal life and professional writing actually will indicate such to some readers - but not YOUR readers, you know what I mean?

    That said, there are some writers (and artists, and actors, and Indian Chiefs) where I, as a reader, have to separate what I know about their personal life in order to enjoy their work. That is up to me, as the receiver of the art - it does NOT mean all professionals must hide their person to avoid unsettling my sensibilities. I actually quite appreciate that you respect your readers enough to allow them to make that call rather than making it for them.

    Keep on doing what you do - you're brilliant at it!

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    1. *stares out the window with a brilliant look on her face*

      I'm right with you. The decision should be very personal, for there are things that might not complement a writer's storytelling. Sharing that wouldn't be all that awesome for them...

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  4. I guess I missed the bruhaa on this.. I feel that it is up to you to either incorporate or not... as far as how much you disclose about yourself is also your business and yours alone.. There is a lot that I don't detail on my page, mainly because if I post something sensitive w/out minute detail I will get email and that is where I disclose.. then again those that read my page usually get my point w/out every detail.. guess I am lucky or my readers are perceptive. :-)

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    1. I always enjoy saying the word "bruhaa" aloud. Mostly because it has a kind of festive sound and because it sounds like Witch in Spanish lol

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  5. My first reaction is that readers who find themselves ill at ease reading your fiction once they have discovered that Pagan Culture involves pagan thought are those who think that pagans/witches are either mentally ill/delusional or sinful creatures. If they continue to enjoy your fiction than they must accept your pagan outlook might have standing. Second reaction is: don't like the Pagan part of Pagan Culture, don't read the fiction. How closely you want your personal & professional lives to link is up to you.

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    1. I've been thinking that people will go to any lengths to avoid seeing "what's there." Particularly if the exposed reality contradicts their worldviews... a little sad, and so very limiting.

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  6. Simple response from someone who would probably be considered a total amateur....when I have a house full of visitors to feed I make stew. I through everything I have into a pot and cook til it's luscious. Everyone get's a bowl of steamy goodness, it is up to them if they want to enjoy all or just pick out their favourite bits. I could(and have) run around sweating and fretting to produce individual meals to suit each person, but then where is my enjoyment? It's my kitchen, you want to come into it chill and sit a while. You want "professional" go to an impersonal restaurant :D XXX

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    1. oh Gina....this is perfection. Exactly what I was thinking. You nailed it. Oma Linda

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    2. Second that Oma! I have a feeling I wouldn't be taking anything out of Gina's soup!

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    3. Fantastic!! I third that! Does that make sense? LOL! Gina, said this perfectly!!!

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    4. I would be too scared to miss the best bit, so I would never pick anything out of your stew, my Gina ;-D

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    5. I love how you put this.

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  7. 1. In what scenario, if any, would you rather not know about the life of an artist whose work you enjoy?

    None. I love to learn about the artist, writer, poet(ess), etc. It brings so much to their work for me. Especially if they, like me, use parts of their actual life or surroundings in their work.

    2. If you are an artist, do you keep your work and life separate or together? Why?

    I would like to say that I keep them somewhat separated but that would be a lie. When I was younger I would keep all aspects of myself out of my stories because it felt like I was changing it too much. But as I grew along with my work I decided that it wasn't necessary. For something to be truly mine it needs a bit of me in there.

    3. Do you think that my decision to share my life and fiction in the same blog weakens or strengthens my storytelling? Why?

    I think it strengthens it definitely. It shows that you value your work and personal life on the same level. I'm not sure how others see it but that's the way I see it.

    If anyone lets their personal life or their work outweigh the other but still hope to maintain both they'll find it hard going. I know I did.

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    1. You know, this is one of the things I love about blogging: the comments answer questions that weren't at the front of my mind. Balance, balance, balance... it would, indeed, be very difficult to put art on one side and personal life on the other and maintain balance. That would probably break me in two.

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  8. Oh my god... this is a hot one!!!

    This whole idea has its basis in the current marketing/branding theories that are being pushed hard on us as "the way you do it... the new rules".

    So let me start by saying something that makes a lot of people really angry. EVERYTHING IS MADE UP and this is no different. Spelling and grammar- Made up. Alphabet- made up. Laws- made up. Marketing and branding- its all made up!

    People subscribe to these "made up systems" and treat them like they are universal laws... without thought or question. One of which is the idea that one must keep the personal out of the business and nothing could be further from the truth.

    I don't seek out dark fiction as a rule, but I read yours because I know you and I enjoy myself. If someone comes on my Facebook who I don't know advertising their latest and greatest of dark fiction... why would I waste my time??? Same goes for services I need. It a world full of all kinds of people with services, I will go with people who I can get to know rather than a cold stranger behind the their branding and marketing lies...

    Magaly, I like you... no, I Love You totally-- not just parts of you. When people say crap like that it feels like school again. You know, that person will only be friends with you if no one is looking...

    So, you want to find YOUR audience? Want to attract YOUR kind of people? Then Serve your self up whole, raw and real on a platter and let people who don't like it go away... they are NOT and never were Your audience, Your Fans, Your Tribe...


    I dare you....

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    1. I accept your dare, and will continue to make things up ;-D

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  9. After a stimulating intellectual conversation with myself - -

    1. In what scenario, if any, would you rather not know about the life of an artist whose work you enjoy?

    In no case. I often cast Astrological charts for people I know to better understand them. So having insight to a favorite Artist is much the same

    2. If you are an artist, do you keep your work and life separate or together? Why?

    I don't. I am my Art, and It is me. I like it that way.

    3. Do you think that my decision to share my life and fiction in the same blog weakens or strengthens my storytelling? Why?

    I don't see how co-mingling can hurt either sphere. When I think of you there is no separation, Magaly.

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    1. "I am my Art, and [my art] is me." I can't see the separation, either, my dear Eliora. And that makes me happy in all sorts of levels ;-)

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  10. Going to answer your questions in reverse, because, well I feel like it.

    3. Do you think that my decision to share my life and fiction in the same blog weakens or strengthens my storytelling? Why?

    Strengthens, defiantly strengthens. Your stories come across as alive, spirited and passionate, all of which originates from you as a whole person. Your life has made you what you are and the little bits of it that you show on here give a little window in to where your writing spark comes from. Sometimes you can read fantasy genre and enjoy it greatly but it's still fantasy. Your stories on the other hand though fantasy based, come across in full raw and earthy feelings that drag you in and make it real. What you write and who you are in life combine in someway to create that and give your writing that raw spirit that some others lack. This blog shows your writing comes from the heart and not just the head.

    2. If you are an artist, do you keep your work and life separate or together? Why?

    I'm not an artist and Magaly you know I keep different blogs on different topics because my aspi brain gets irritated if I mix to many things up in one pot so to speak. I like clear barriers as long as I reserve the right to knock them down as and when I feel like it. There are parts of my life I've very guarded about. On other things I'm an open book because somethings in life just refuse to remain separate and become apparent on all my blogs. Being pagan is one of those things for me. It's just impossible to contain or control everything and it's impossible to please everyone so I'll settle for being true to myself.

    1. In what scenario, if any, would you rather not know about the life of an artist whose work you enjoy?

    I don't mind an artist talking about any part of their life, what they chose to reveal should remain up to them. If it's something I'm not interested in I just won't register it. If it's something I might profoundly disagree with then it could alter my opinion of their work but that is a risk an artist takes and is not always the case. Terry Pratchett is a case in point of that for me, disagree with him on some issues he's talked about but still love his work. The other side of the coin is that sometimes, like in your writing, knowing more about a person seems to give their work more depth.

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    1. Witchy J, my OCD was what pushed me to separate things... at least at the beginning. Then I couldn't divide the week in perfect sections, so that I could dedicate the exact amount of time to personal blogging and blogging fiction or about fiction writing. It was driving me mad! lol Like you said, we need to do what keeps us sane. I also love the opportunity to turn everything upside down if that is what my psyche needs to go on. Life is such a dance, isn't it?

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  11. Oh my, oh my. See, this is one of those things that I don't play at. Analysis. I am not a head person. I am a heart person.
    1. I want to be intimate with everyone. I mean that in the knowing where they come from way. Where their heart motive is attached. As we all know some folks have a strong heart/ass connection, and I tend not to want to "know" about them. But you my dear. You are real, authentic, raw (sometimes) and fresh (most of the time) wink wink. I know your heart and therefore, I love you. And like my child that you are, I always will love whatever you do. If I didn't know you, how could I have that feeling?
    2.You know I do arting not art, but I shared in several cubby holes (blogs)and venues. It seemed to lose it's flavor, so I just ceased. My art is for me.
    3. I know so many folks who have come to know you and because of that...they have come to appreciate your talent as a writer. So I would say it strengthens your storytelling.
    Just like my darling Shelley, you get into discussions that make you burn. It is a good thing except that it also stirs some "muck" up that must be taken care of. Strain the muck, dispose of it and just continue to be happy being all you, all the time.
    Just my thoughts on the case of being Magaly.

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    1. I think, my beloved Oma Linda, that you "play" at analysis way better than many of us. I, too, like the idea of intimate sharing between writer, reader and character... I feel that the practice makes the experience of fiction more real.

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  12. Personally I didn't read much of your fiction until you blended the two blogs. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment of Thorn in Red.
    For me I love knowing more about my favorite authors. I have a few authors that show up in my facebook feed. One author posts about her dog, a lot. I really like seeing her posts though and knowing more about her life. I enjoy the work of an artist more sometimes if I know more about them. I have a tight budget for books, and I'm low on space, so I'm also more likely to buy a book from the author I that I know more about than I am to wait for a library release.
    Ideally as an artist I'd love to share more personal stories along with my art work. I have some side issues that get in the way of that though.

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    1. You've made me smile. I found some of my favorite writers that way--reading something about their lives and then I want to know everything about them, including their fiction.

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  13. I can see where the issue comes from, in as much as someone might want to follow at blog purely about Witchy/Pagan things - rituals, celebrations,spells etc or instead follow a writing blog that is,well, purely writing.

    Having said that, those who have taken time enough to follow and read Pagan Culture properly, would see that your blog can be neither of these 'seperate' things - the very fact it is a mix of writing and personal Witchyness is what makes it Pagan Culture and what makes you, you ! Am I making any sense here ??? :-p !lol!! Your writing comes from your 'youness' and your 'youness' comes in part from your writing, your love of words, your need of dark fiction.

    In short - which would probably have been better in the first place ! - Keep Calm and Carry On Witching and Writing ie - being you ;-) x x

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    1. I think some people stop by and run as soon as they see the word "Pagan." It's a bit of a sad thought, for so many of us would miss so much if we just take the extra step and open the book...

      I shall "Keep Calm and Carry On Witching and Writing." ;-D

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  14. Bull's eye, Magaly.
    Just as I merged my more or less 'personal' blog with my author's page. ;)

    1. When I find out an artist/author holds some vile horrible opinions, that'll spoil their work for me. (Like sexist and/or racist views or killing kittens in their free time.) Otherwise I am interested in the stories, not so much the person who writes them (if you know what I mean, it sounds wrong when put this way, but I also want my readers to care about my stories and not so much about me.)

    2. I said on my page that I am a WYSIWYG-Person. That I don't intend to be 'somewhere out there' in realms far beyond and above my future readers. There is stuff that won't be shared online. There is stuff that will be shared online. So if future readers can't live with some pet or food content on my page and they think it is not professionel to have an opinion on certain things (because I as author should play nice with all possible kinds of readers and shouldn't risk to scare them of?) - I call BS on this.

    3. Magaly you are awesome. You are authentic. Just stay yourself. Trying to please everyone would be a pretty impossible task. (Pissing them off on the other hand is a piece of cake ;))

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    1. I've been discussing this issue with a few friends (Eliora and Gina, mostly). Now I'm really glad I wrote this post, for it seems many of us have been dealing with the same issue. It is nice to try to make sense of it together.

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  15. When I read a novel or story that I really like, I'm always intrigued to know more about its author. I think it's because I'm interested in the creative process, not just the end result. Even if an author's personality or lifestyle is not to my taste, it still sheds light on the written product, I think. Of course that holds true for all other artists as well -- visual, film, musical, what-have-you. Or maybe I'm just a voyeur. I don't know.

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    1. Right on, Debra. Your words describe exactly how I fell in love with the work of SunshineShelle and Magic Love Crow--their stories caught me by the waist and now refuse to let me go ;-)

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  16. I think creative people all struggle with this exact question. I decided to finally merge my writing and witch's blogs after reading some excellent advice from Kristen Lamb (http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/) about how many blogs a writer needs. Her answer: one. This is a funny and insightful blog post from her that I love: "A writer is blogging for pleasure and who has multiple interests needs separate blogs.

    NO. BAD ADVICE. First of all, all of our blogging should be blogging for pleasure. There is no reason that a blog that supports our brand cannot be fun. Why are these activities assumed to be mutually exclusive?"
    (http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/?s=how+many+blogs+does+an+author+need)


    1. In what scenario, if any, would you rather not know about the life of an artist whose work you enjoy?

    If they actively were racist, bigoted, psychopathic, misogynistic, I'd want to know so I could stop sending them my money.

    2. If you are an artist, do you keep your work and life separate or together? Why?

    Nope. As I say on my home page: "Ashtoreth Eldritch is both my pen and magical name for public use in writing and arcane circles. I tried keeping an account for writing only, but that didn’t work out so well for me. I am a witch & I cannot keep the magical separate from my writing."

    My writing inspires my magic and my magic inspires my writing. And, as I am doing both for my own pleasure, well, I get to choose how I share it with the world. People can choose to read things they like to read and ignore what they don't like to read. Tags and Categories are wonderful tools!


    3. Do you think that my decision to share my life and fiction in the same blog weakens or strengthens my storytelling? Why?

    My dear, I think it strengthens your storytelling. It's a treat to see what inspires you. Sharing the creative process is as satisfying as sharing the completed piece, in my opinion.

    *HUGS*

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    1. I open my arms and embrace my Self. All of it.

      You had to mention "Tags and Categories," didn't you? *sigh* One should tag responsibly (and by "one" I mean me). Or one runs the risk of finding herself having to tag almost 1,000 old posts.

      Not as pleasurable as it sounds... all the tagging.

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    2. Woot! Embracing all of yourself is really what it's all about. I really wish I knew this 20 years ago. ;)

      Yes, I did, didn't I... I understand your plight very well. It took me about three tries before I finally got my system worked out to my liking. Nothing like reinventing the wheel over and again.

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    3. I think we ALL wish we had known this a few years ago LOL

      Everytime my fingers hurt and my brain bleeds from all the reading and clicking, I shall remember that you went over the tag/category wars three times...

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  17. We live in a society that expects people to be schizophrenic. To be one person at home, and another in the workplace, and another when with friends.

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    1. Social schizophrenics! Some truths are just funnier than others. You've made me roar ;-D

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  18. So many good questions, I somehow think you know the answers to most of them, but most people do not...does that make cents...and I mean cents...lol...I am your newest follower and love your writing..I have some goulie house guests at my home I know your gonna love...come for a visit and meet them...Phyllis

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    1. It makes perfect "cents" :-D

      I stopped by your skeletal yumminess, and must go back to start from the beginning. My goodness, if we could all have guests like yours for Halloween!

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  19. Note1 I think artists tend to explore ideas rather than shove them down people's throats through their art/sculpture/written word.
    Note 2 A person interprets art usually on an intimate level, so why would an artist separate THEIR art from the rest of their life, are they not a whole person (?) or should they be more like a chest of draws with all things neatly separated, never overlapping, touching.... This is such a cool post, I could not separate my art from my loves, interests, emotions, for me as an income earner, mother, cook, wife, blogger, I sometimes look at the piles of crap that surround me, and the photos, snow globes, paints, people, pets, notebooks, and the experiences of walking into the Louvre or the grocery store it is all of this that makes up me the artist, take away the rest and you end up with a pretty 1 dimensional output of art, I like the meatiness of a full human artist, rather than a sanitised politically correct representation of one.

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    1. All your bits is what makes me love your art so much. There is a always a little Shelle in your work, and that truth is delicious to behold. I love "the meatiness of a full human artist," too ;-)

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  20. Wow Magaly..keep creating as you are...as you wish..however you want! I think a true artist-creative-spirit-soul..is one who creates fully as they are and as they know how to be true for them...without diluting themself..but by fully and purely being who they are...that is the most special and unique gift that person embodies..their true nature....letting all they are bloom and Be!!.. To hestitate, with-hold or alter oneself to please others..brings us into the mind-maze...and then creates all kinds of cages we slowly realize have taken over..burying the artistic spirit! I have at times in my life..felt overly-responsible for everyone's feelings/beliefs/ comfort level..and then suddenly you realize you are supporting their world view..and not supporting your own beauty and magic and the way you shine... I say follow whatever feels right for you..however you feel, honor that... ..sometimes sharing is exactly what opens others to evolve and grow in order to embrace true artistry however it is coming through. If others choose not to like that..they are caught in a mind-maze..and cages can keep us all busy for a long while!

    I say let everyone be who they are..that is the powerful path of being an artist-creative-spirit...to walk your path fully, meaningfully and expressing that soulfully...however feels most divine to you!When a person honors the artist within without restriction..you are living an artists life..the other is walking the corridor of the mind..very lovely place too...but it feels too good breathing in the open space.!
    Victoria
    PS; I LOVE what Gina wrote..well said!

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    1. "...sometimes sharing is exactly what opens others to evolve and grow in order to embrace true artistry however it is coming through." Those are words of power, Victoria. I will hold on to them, think of their taste as I enjoy Gina's stew ;-)

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  21. If there is a match between the writing and the writer's life, then one gives authenticity and support to the other. If there is a dislocation between the artist and what the artist produces, then it's fascinating to wonder how Art 'A' could come out of Life 'B'. Both notions are full of intrigue and delight. I would prefer to know, rather than not know, about the artists I admire. I can see why some people who were following one blog rather than the other might feel a little nonplussed, but they're grown ups, they'll manage. I can also see that for you, it's tidier, more intuitive. I welcome it as there's such a blending of who you are and what you write.

    As for my writing, I write my dark fiction elsewhere, on someone else's blog. Because some of it is smutty. ;)

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    1. I hope you know that right now all I can think is, How can I get a hold of her dark fiction with smutty bits in them? LOL

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    2. Well, I write additions to the on-going stories at The Narrator's Study, (I see you there in the followers box! Well found!)which is like a slow version of online role-play, always a fertile ground for new writers. The smut is on the sister-site Narrator's Library, which is for outside contributors. It's a grubby little piece I'm about halfway through,a burlesque on Kitty's doctor visit from Anna Karenina. Steampunk Porn *clears throat slightly*. So, if you want a giggle, it's here:- http://thenarratorslibrary.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_9.html

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    3. "Steampunk Porn" I just had to repeat it. I can't wait to finish editing what I'm working on. I shall sit and enjoy. I'm grinning think about the kind of toys this sub-genre might introduce *pun, totally intended* lol

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  22. I marvel at the ways people try to shut each other up... To compare artistry with the police or care professions might be the least relevant addition to a blog conversation I've read lately - and that is saying A LOT. And the whole "shoving opinions" and "offending your readers" bit? *sigh* and *eye roll* Let me introduce you to some revolutionary concepts: 'Democracy' and 'Free Speech'. Oh - and the not so revolutionary: If you don't like what it says, then don't continue to read the blog in question.

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    1. Many of us have lived in societal boxes for so long that we get nervous (even annoyed) at the sight of someone jumping out of the square and dancing to their own music. It's a bit sad, isn't it?

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  23. Hmmmm....I have mixed feelings about this. But I think I'm coming from a different perspective, so maybe that's the reason.

    You write dark, magical fiction and serve an audience that reads this genre and delights in reading your adventures because they (and probably you) believe that at any time, the magic might just break out all over the place. Your opinions and life match in some way the opinions and lives of your characters, so there's no dissonance for your readers. Your life is a comfortable place for them.

    BUT--one of my very favorite authors didn't have a website for a loooooong time. When she got one, it was heavy in writing stuff: how tos, where the ideas come from, et cetera. It was thrilling to have that little piece of her. Then she started a blog and...it was not so thrilling. The stories she writes are rich and deep and lush and exiting and funny and her life seems to consist of so much mundane stuff (llloooooong descriptions of puppy toilet habits) that it's hard to jibe the two. And then she converted to a religion that seems so out of step with her writing that I had to stop reading the blog because I just can't make it make sense to myself. Is it up to her to make her life make sense to me? Nope. Is her life supposed to entertain me? Nope. But as an author, she made the decision to open her life up to that possible dissonance, and the unfortunate thing is that it might cost her readers. Will I still go get her new book? I will, because I love her writing and her worlds. But I don't know that I am as excited about this one and I do know that I'm afraid I'll be parsing it because I know so much about her personal life.

    This is an issue of commercial appeal, I'm afraid. I have learned the hard way that when one intends to market oneself, one must consider the audience. As a photographer, I'd love to have the freedom to fly my weirdo flag, and I'm getting enough business and respect that I can wave it gingerly from time to time, but living in an area where people use their religion to market their business means that merging my personal and business life is not wise. It's sad because I used to love to blog and now I feel shut down because my social and political ideas don't fit with potential customers. I've had people say, "You need to just be yourself and not worry about potential customers because if your work is good enough, they'll come to you regardless," but I don't think that this is very savvy advice if I want to make a living where I live.

    All this to say: for YOU, dear Magaly, the decision to merge your two selves makes sense spiritually, artistically, and commercially. It might not be the wisest decision for all writers, though.

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    1. The same thing happened with two of my favorite authors: the first began to write stories that read nothing like her older ones, and to add to the madness she said that the older work (her best) was just madness and people should stay away from. Then she started to write stories that were too dogmatic.

      I understand what you mean... all the way. And I think that might be what the person was talking about. It is one thing to share our lives, but it would be very different to turn our lives into our characters' stories. Unless we write memoirs ;-D

      The trick might be to never forget that although we use some of our experiences to build our characters. Their actions, reactions and the situations they are involved in should be true to their story and not a way to further our own. Hope that makes sense because I'm not going back to edit it LOL

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  24. “certain kinds of artists trying to use their creations to shove their ideas down consumers’ throats.”...SERIOUSLY?
    1. In what scenario, if any, would you rather not know about the life of an artist whose work you enjoy? A: In no scenario would I dislike knowing about the artist's life. It can give you a more complete view of the work if you understand where it's coming from. I read a series of books that I really enjoyed and just assumed the author to have Pagan leanings. When I discovered that the author was, in fact, a Christian preacher, I was surprised, but even more impressed with his tale telling abilities. It didn't make me want to stop reading his work. That's just stupid.

    2. If you are an artist, do you keep your work and life separate or together? Why? A: I am an artist and blogger, and I keep my spiritual blog separate from my art website mainly for the sake of my husband. I think he would be embarrassed by my witchiness being Out for all to see. Also, witchcraft is illegal here, so I don't advertize my leanings. People who know me know my leanings and know that I am "not the bad kind of witch". My professional and personal life have been slowly merging over the past year, though, so I see a more integrated approach in the future.

    3. Do you think that my decision to share my life and fiction in the same blog weakens or strengthens my storytelling? Why? A: I think that your decision to share your personal life and your fiction in the same place strengthens your storytelling. I find that it maximizes the impact of the tale when I know your frame of mind when you wrote it. Our art mirrors our Self many times, and to be able to say "Ah, now I understand where that tale came from." is a plus for me. It would feel cold and soulless to me otherwise.

    I'm going to quote my stepgrandson in response to the people who say you are disrespecting your readers: "It's a free world and you are entitled to your opinion...even if it's stupid."

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    1. Your stepgrandson has the soul of a feisty crone!

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  25. Having grown up in the Bible Belt, I understand you process, Not Hannah. I don't like it, but there are consequences that can affect your bottom line unless you can keep that side of yourself hidden.

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    1. Not Hannah's and Sarah's reasons are very valid. When I was in the military I didn't hide who and what I was, but I didn't advertise it either. One thing is to be open, and the other is to be too proud to see that our actions can hurt loved ones or pretty much put us in jail. So sad that things like that have to be eve said, huh? Some truths are just so un-pretty...

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  26. But, now that I live in a more metro area, I feel better about putting myself out there. I find that who I really am keeps leaking into my art and postings. So if I don't want to spend my day in adult diapers, I have to be more "out there" with my inner self. Although, I still do hide some posts from some family members. Oy!

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    1. "I have to be more 'out there' with my inner self." That sounds like a mantra! I like it ;-)

      I think many of us have to shield our families from certain things... or shield ourselves from the things that would come out of our families if they were to read certain things. Life is so rich...

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  27. First of all, I can't believe that anyone would complain about the content of your blog. It's YOUR blog, not theirs. How rude is that? If they don't want to read parts of it, then don't read those entries. If it makes someone feel creepy to come to your blog to read your story updates, that's their problem. I suppose those people would have the same problem with my blog which blends my artist life and my personal life. what a bunch of bullshit. Magaly, why do you waste your time on people like that? It's not their place to criticize how you live your life or write your blog or what you write about. they don't have to like it.

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    1. I think some people have a very difficult time sorting through things, which many times makes me wonder how they deal with the chaos that is life. I don't get mad at the ones who ask genuine questions and try to find a way to reconcile their issues. The ones who try to push people around in order to reshape the world to their liking do annoy me though. Let's hope their decisions don't close them in a box that chokes them. In the meantime, I'll continue to write.

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  28. I'm not an artist in any way, shape or form.....but!

    1. Think of it this way. Let's say you really liked the fiction of a writer. Then, that writer decided to mix personal writings in with the fiction. Then you found out what a closed minded arse that person way. Hypothetically, let's say they didn't like homosexuals. However, if you hadn't been reading their blog, and they hadn't decided to get personal, you probably would never know. How would you feel about that? Would you still read their fiction?

    A lot of people will say no. It's instinctual. There are people out there who just aren't comfortable with paganism. Especially, when we add the very polarizing word "witch" to it. You and I, and a lot of us here, aren't shy about using that word. But, it doesn't make some people very skittish.

    Should you mix your writing? That's up to you, I am okay with it. But, there will be people who aren't. Remember when I got paganism in my horror? People get bored with having to wade through the stuff they either aren't interested in, or are uncomfortable with. I think my mixing hurt me in the end.

    2. I'd like to keep my topics separate now. My blog will be about the atheist pagan lifestyle. Solely. If I choose to return to horror, or gaming even, I'll do separate ones for that.

    3. I don't think it does either one. You're a fabulous writer. You'd still be a fabulous writer if we knew nothing about you on a personal level. Believe me, I'm glad I DO know things about you on a personal level because it helps me get into your mind a bit more, but you can't make a weak writer out of a strong one no matter how much personal information you add. Even if that hypothetical bigot I mentioned earlier were a strong writer, he'd still be a strong writer even if he didn't like gay people.

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    1. Life is a complex dance. Some of us choose to learn steps so that we don't miss to many rounds, others don't. At the end, it's all about choice, right? And yes, some choices bring more consequences than other.

      P.S. I can't stop giggling at your "hypothetical bigot" comment!

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  29. What I understood during all the months I've been following you (sounds scary if applied to REAL life,lol), that you are one f the most whole persons I've ever met. Your life, your fiction, your blog are all about you, and things you believe in, and consider true, for yourself... So there is no way to separate you from your creative side! How is it even possible?

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    1. It doesn't sound scary at all. Let's just hope I'm leading us to a nice place LOL

      You are so very right. The idea of separating myself from myself is definitely not possible.

      So I'll write on ;-D

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    2. So far I have been liking this place :)
      Write on and shine... on!

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  30. I love that you share both. I mean for some things I can understand where it wouldn't be a good idea, but for an artist I kind of think it strengthen the writing, photographer, crafting, etc. I mean yes I have a photographer site and then my personal blog but I don't hide one from the other, and the photography blog is more for a hire me as a photographer and a portfolio than me as an open book, like my blog.

    I think it was awesome for you to spank the pink elephant in the room, and I would have smirked at the silence cause that's the kind of person I can be. ;)

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    1. It's all about being who we are, isn't it?

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  31. If we choose never expose ourselves to things, experiences or people that make us uncomfortable, we are denying ourselves the opportunity for growth.


    1. I *always* love to learn about an artist whose art touches me. If I enjoy their art, there is at least some kind of connection there. Why would anyone not want to know an artist they like, as much as they possibly could?

    2. I would like to call myself an artist, but I don't feel like it's a title I own yet. Regardless, I still make things and share them with people. In doing this, I don't keep myself and my art separate. Since my work, whatever it is, is part of me, it seems silly to compartmentalize my life just so that someone might not be exposed to an aspect of me that makes them "uncomfortable". That aspect of me is still there, regardless of whether it's in the forefront of my arts/crafts/whatever, so if someone has a problem with it, then they are having a problem with a part of *me*. Which is fine, but if we never interact with people who fall outside of our comfort zones, I feel that we're dooming ourselves to a very narrow, blah kind of life.

    3. I think that your decision to share your life and fiction at the same place strengthens your storytelling. I can read a story and love it, but when I know about the author, when I am privy to the little bits of their life that they choose to share, when we can talk back and forth like we all do here, it adds so much to when I read that author's fiction.
    Knowing an author as more than just an author adds a depth to the stories they write. I feel like being able to know an author as a person is like adding the perfect spices to a dish, which enhances and adds subtlety to the flavors, and quite often elevates a dish into something so much more than just the sum of its parts.

    XOXO

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    1. I will bask in your answer... for a while. Because I believe it, because it applies to me. When I can see bit of life in an artist's work, I feel closer to the piece. So let's share ;-)

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  32. It's all about the integrity to be yourself honey. Keep on being real, and you can't go wrong. Besides, I could not imagine a world without the beauty of my Magaly, and her constant reminders that we all have the right to be who we are. All my love, Mina

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    1. I'm sending you all kinds of real kisses coated in hugs ;-D

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