The Subjectivity of Art

Over the years I’ve been in this writing life, I’ve thought often about the subjectivity of art, specifically of the written word. But never more so than when my first book hit the shelves. 

Here’s the thing: As readers, we realize that some books we connect with, others we don’t. Some books that move others to tears, we toss aside. Others that critics ignore, we cherish as meaningful and worthwhile. So why, as writers, do we expect any different variant of responses from the readers of our work? 

I am so very grateful for the many positive reviews for Wings of a Dream. But every now and then a comment will rankle. It will poke at my heart, causing an outburst of explanation or indignation to my inanimate computer screen. But as I mutter my displeasure, I suddenly recall a book I couldn’t finish--one that one garnered awards and has many admirers. Or a book that was well written but simply didn’t interest me. I didn’t connect with the story, though many others did. 

I appreciate the Lord’s constant reminder of this truth: that He created each of us with a unique combination of personality, likes and dislikes, and experiences that all simmer together and result in a point of view no other person has exactly. So the art that spills out of my uniqueness may not speak to yours. And that’s okay. Because my work will speak to someone. And someone else’s work will speak to you. And if we all admired exactly the same thing, wouldn’t the beauty that is art be dimmed somehow?

In the past two months, I’ve decided I’d rather endure the occasional misunderstanding or dislike than surrender the diversity of our creativity. After all, we serve a multi-faceted  God, each of us responding in greater or lesser degrees to different aspects of His character. If it doesn’t bother Him that we don’t walk in lock-step in our relationship with Him, why should it bother us that we don’t all walk in uniformity with each other? 

I do hope you enjoy Wings of a Dream and all my other books. But if you don’t, please know it is okay. I can give you grace to appreciate the art that moves you, even if it isn’t mine. 


Wendy Paine Miller said...

You are so cool to write this.

I feel like I'm being groomed in this lesson (have been my whole faith life--Gal. 1:10).

Beautiful thoughts here today.
~ Wendy

Anne Mateer said...

I understand, Wendy. It's something the Lord has been working out in me over many, many years. But I never imagined it would be for this purpose!

Marji Laine - Faith-Driven Suspense said...

With so many hearts that need touching, it's no wonder that the Lord uses so many different books. That doesn't ease the feelings when a creation gets trampled, but can serve as a reminder of the One who is ultimately in charge.

Anonymous said...

This is like a breath of fresh air. Your gentle point of view makes me feel good. :)

I've been catching up on your blog posts as I sit by the fire. Lots of good reading. Thanks for sharing yourself.

Anne Mateer said...

VV! I've missed you--and your blogging, too! So good to see you again! :)