Sunday, 3 April 2011

worth remembering, I think.

Shaun Tan writes and illustrates picture books - beautiful creations. His book, The Red Tree, is one of my favourites.

"A nameless young girl appears in every picture, a stand-in for ourselves; she passes helplessly through many dark moments, yet ultimately finds something hopeful at the end of her journey.

Anyway, the thing that's resonated with me enough to write a blog about it is this quote of his I came across a few days ago:

The artists’ responsibility lies first and foremost with the work itself, trusting that it will invite the attention of others by the force of its conviction.

It's the first bit of the sentence that has struck me. It's not that I haven't heard something like that before, or felt it, it's maybe that it articulates it better than I've heard before. Or that it's come at a time when being reminded of that is good for me.

What do you think? Do you agree?
If you're a writer, who is your responsibility to?


Bella De La Rocher said...

As writer of my novel-in-progress, my responsibility lies sorely with the main character. Telling his story and telling it RIGHT, and making sure he is safe, and that I find out who killed his parents, is my responsibility.

Rachel Fenton said...

I like that quote - but not everyone shares our vision when we work like that, do they? I wish it were so.

It's a beautifully moving illustration, btw. Appeals to something primitive in me...

Teresa Stenson said...

Hi Bella - I've never thought of it quite like that, having a responsibility to your characters as well as the piece as a whole, but that's interesting. Thanks for commenting.

Rachel - oh you have to look him up (Shaun Tan) and if you like that picture you should get a copy of 'The Red Tree', it's gorgeous. I came across it when my boyfriend worked in a bookshop a few years ago, and it's one of those that I buy every now and again as a gift (so far, always for adults), and I think of it often too. One of his other books, 'The Lost Thing' was made into a short film that just won an Oscar. But start with 'The Red Tree'. I've obviously built it up, but I'm certain you'll like it.

Miles said...

The Red Tree is one of my favourite books ever. So moving and relevant.

My responsibility as a writer is to put down in words the fragmented but urgent feelings that plague my brain and force them to make sense.

I think.

Also, regarding the first response to this post: should I be worried?