I’ve often referred to Michael Cho as my Yoda. He’s kind, patient, talented and always supportive of me and other ‘new to the field’ comic-type people. This is still true, despite debating on Twitter about Salinger when he died, and disagreeing over whether his unpublished works should be made public or not.


I Think Yoda Was Wrong

Michael believes it’s the artist’s right to do whatever they want with their art, even if that means burning it all down at their own funeral pyre. I understand the point – but wasting art is a travesty. No one develops in a vacuum – Salinger himself was nourished and inspired by the creative works of others. Taking his own writings and keeping them unpublished, even after he dies  is like breaking the links in a chain of creative inspiration. You can bet that Salinger was holed up in his house rabidly consuming the writings of others –

I think you’re kind of a selfish dick if you don’t share your creative work.


Haunted by Holes

I was haunted for months (and still am from time to time) by the thought of transformative works of art, writing, stories or ideas not making it out in the world where they can have a real impact.

What’s been lost because the artist didn’t think it was good enough to share? What do we lose when the budding creative child isn’t supported or encouraged to continue with their creative path? I hate thinking of all the impactful work that can change minds and enlarge perspectives being lost to us.


Waiting Builds Character. Shut up.

It really bothered me to think of all this potential creativity being squandered – all these connections and innovations lost because a crucial piece was missing… I wonder how far afield art can go – can it inspire change and breakthrough in science and politics?  Can it change an individual mind that will go on to shape cultures and countries? How big is art? How big can it be?

In retrospect this was why I quit webcomics, I just didn’t know it for over a year.

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Discussion (6) ¬

    TatiB says:

    The final link in the post is broken.

    Lezley says:

    I was pro-active and made all the links between the posts… before they publish.

    …what – people don’t like that?


    Stephanie says:

    I agree with some points, and I disagree with others.

    What’s been lost because the artist didn’t think it was good enough to share? What do we lose when the budding creative child isn’t supported or encouraged to continue with their creative path?

    These are two different, and IMHO unrelated concepts. On the second, I agree completely. Children should be supported in their creative interests. Heck even adults should be supported and encouraged. Frankly I can’t imagine any situation where a sane objective person would want to curtail or limit a child’s options for creative outlet and growth.

    The first scenario, however, is entirely different. I can think of all kinds of reasons why an artist might wish their unfinished (or simply not-yet-published) works to remain so. Living or dead, if someone does not wish their work to be viewed until it is ready, then IMHO that is their right and that right should not arbitrarily expire when they die. Maybe they have works that they’ve done, that were never intended for publication? What of private / personal work? Theraputic work?

    If you would deny the right of an individual to determine what should become of their art after they die, then why stop there? Why not step in and decide how to divide up their estate?

    Calling a person selfish for not wishing to share their creation implies to me that either you feel you have a right to those works, or that the individual has an obligation to share them.

    Frankly, I think the definition of selfish in this case applies more to the one who wants to ignore or overrule the desires of the works’ creator.

    As for Salinger, he may have been ‘consuming’ the works of others, but odds are he didn’t pry open their safes or diaries (or caskets) to do so. Odds are he bought or borrowed works whos creators had decide to publish / share.

    So yes – encourage the children, of course! But no, don’t presume that you or anyone else has a right to the creative works of an individual until and unless that creator wishes to share them.

    I then, and now, and will continue to think Salinger is a selfish dick to spend his entire life in solitude writing and not sharing the results of that writing with the world.

    It’s fair for an artist to self select works he or she deems ready to see the light of day… but Salinger published NOTHING.

    I don’t presume to have the right to his, or any creative work. I do believe that talents and works should be shared – especially someone of Salinger’s status and skill/talent who was obviously connecting and resonating with a voice of that particular generation and time in culture.

    In particular I wonder what further great works of art and literature may have been produced by others as a result of Salinger’s further writing.

    If you think that makes me selfish… *shrug* … whatever.

    My concern is that artist’s continue to write and make art and movies and creations that inspire and evolve us as a species.
    This is what’ important.

    Salinger however, continues to be a selfish dick.

    Stephanie says:

    Actually I should have included this in my earlier comment but… disclaimer – I don’t know the first thing about the situation or conversation that you had referenced, and am only vaguely aware of who Salinger is. We’re talking about the guy who wrote that book that they make kids read in school? With the brass ring that the kids would reach for from the merry-go-round? Catcher in the Rye? At the risk of making myself sound like a fool, if that was indicative of his work, I don’t feel the loss of the unpublished stuff.

    My feelings remain though, on the point I made above. And maybe Salinger was a selfish jerk, I don’t know. But what he did with what he created was his choice, his decision, and I respect that. I might think it was stupid, and you may think it was selfish, but the bottom line is that it was his decision to make.

    Personally, I’m way more concerned about censorship and meddling by the state limiting the creative arts than I am all the artists and creators chosing to keep their works to themselves.

    I believe it is a basic human nature to be creative, and there will always be people driven to share their vision with the world. For every selfish Salinger, there’ll be dozens more desperate to share their creativity.

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