portrait of the artist as a young man
In 1948, 24-year old Norman Mailer wrote “The Naked and the Dead”.
It was his first novel. But not his first short story. That had been published when he was 18.
Mailer graduated from Harvard in 1943, and went into the military. He was sent to the South Pacific, which is from where he garnered his material for the novel.
It was hailed by The Modern Library as “one of the best 100 English language novels ever written”.
Pretty good for a 24-year old.
Mailer was a writer.
Was he a ‘professional’ writer?
At Harvard, Mailer studied aeronautical engineering.
He never took a ‘writing’ course
He did not spend years ‘learning to be a writer’.
He simply wrote, because that was what he was driven to do.
And he was able to do so because all it took to be a writer was a pencil, a piece of paper and an idea.
There has been a great deal of discussion here and elsewhere about ‘Citizen Journalist’ vs. ‘Professional’, with myriad attempts to define ‘professional’.
As I wrote earlier, the term ‘Citizen Journalist’ is what we might term ‘mutually inclusive’. Every Citizen is a ‘journalist’, or at least has the right to try to become one.
Writers like Mailer write because they have something to say. What they have to say is their vision, their statement.
I would like to think that the people we are empowering with video and edits and training are being empowered to create video that reflects their personal vision.
Craftsmen are hired to create a product for someone else. It is someone else’s vision. They may do it extremely well, with great craftsmanship, but it is a craft.
Writing however, is an art.
As is painting, or composing music, or sculpture…
For a long time, video has been a craft.
An army of professional cameramen gladly answered the call and shot what they were asked to shoot – whether it was local news or a PBS Documentary. And they did it well. But it was a craft.
Now, for the first time, video can become a creative art.
Take a camera and create what is in your head and in your heart. Not what someone else has hired you to do.
Arts and Crafts.
on shows like “whats your trip” we are looking for artists.
Mailer was very much an artist.