Artistic Integrity

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Some time in the Northern Dark Ages…

It’s some time in the Northern Dark Ages. A poet recites his new work to the King and his warriors:

POET: …and Grendel runs off into the night, bleeding, dying. Beowulf takes the trolls dismembered arm and nails it high on the rafters of the Hall of Heriot!

(Bows.)

KING: Well… I don’t know. It seemed kind of short.

POET: No, no, Lord, that was just a pause of effect. Grendel, of course had a mother. That night as the revellers slumber, she comes to the hall, wet-handed, bloody-minded…

(Later)

POET: And still clutching the ancient sword, Beowulf swims to the surface and surprises his mourning friends.

(Bows.)

WARRIORS: Rah!

KING: …I don’t know… I mean, it’s a hero tale, but where is the dragon.

POET: Dragon? WTF? Oh, DRAGON. Yes, I haven’t finished yet.

Years later, when Beowulf is an old man…

And thus the poet got paid — or at least got to eat — and we got the poem Beowulf.

The king, you see, was right.

If an artist has integrity, then so must their audience. Sometimes the greatest art comes from the meeting of the two.

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2 comments on “Artistic Integrity
  1. Or more likely the audience must be demanding. The Artist needs feedback saying ‘Create more Art’ in order to get going.

    Your example is a particularly extreme case where the poet is put on the spot. Is this representing an immanent deadline?

  2. mharoldpage says:

    Not so much a deadline as editorial feedback which I took onboard.

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