One myth that never seems to go away is the “divine inspiration” of the artist. People refuse to believe that artists work hard, study, take notes, etc., preferring to think of them as half-mad idiot-savants who are struck by the spirit of their work as if by a bolt of lightening.
For all my admiration for Gary Hart’s blogging, he is quoted by Maureen Dowd, in today’s New York Times as saying something completely absurd:
Gary Hart, who began his blog in March, doesn’t bother to read other digital diarists. “If you’re James Joyce,” he said slyly, “you don’t read other authors.”
“Now there’s a man with a future in blogging.” she concludes. But he is simply wrong. Joyce, if anything, was one of history’s most avaricious readers. He loved the classics, of course, but also modern writers such as Ibsen, Tolstoy, Flaubert, Yeats, Chekhov, Beckett, Dostoevski …
Most of the great bloggers out there (look at the blogroll on the right) all are regular readers of each other’s blogs, and also seem to read lots of other blogs which I’ve never heard of. Inspiration, if there is such a thing, is 99% perspiration. True, the blogsphere can be a little introspective, and I always like to read bloggers who are reading books and articles, and not just other bloggers… but that is a different argument.
NOTE: This post started as a comment over at Talk Left.