Sunday, October 03, 2010

Working at Home

geranium with fruit

counter clutter

More play than work, I suppose.

My old Epson 2450 scanner still does a reasonably good job with my negatives, but it is really slow. While the scanning arm crawls across the images I usually pass the time by browsing the web. In producing this set of images I came across a nice piece in the NYT Opinion section by Michael Cunningham entitled "Found in Translation".

Cunningham, a novelist, sees himself, his translators and his readers as all sharing a piece of the creative process in similar ways. He also dissects the common delusion that we create primarily for ourselves. In the teaching of writing Cunningham urges his students to write for a specific individual. In his own case, the person he selected for the job was someone he worked with who was a voracious reader, not burdened with constraints of academic opinion. Cunningham wasn't looking for criticism, but rather for an open-minded sensibility that could perceive his intent without prejudice.

It didn't seem from Cunningham's account that he ever explicitly revealed his choice of a muse before writing about it in the Times piece. That is probably a good strategy because there is an obvious pitfall to tailoring the creative product too specifically to a particular set of tastes. I'm thinking in this case of commercial artists who work in portraiture or advertising. Some can maintain creative integrity in the face of editorial and customer pressures, but I think that is much more the exception than the rule.