As much as I despise the so-called philosophy of the self-alienated, drug-addicted, sociopathic Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead is a book with many wise lessons in it that I do recommend others read.
The core of that book is “To thine own self be true” and, in modern touchy-feely gooey terms, “Follow your bliss.”
It’s the story of architect Howard Roark, who refuses to follow the herd mentality, who isn’t concerned with the approval of anyone and so is often alienated and attacked and cheated by his fellow human beings.
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez published another post advocating curation today and it settled the issue in my mind for me. I left this buzzsaw of a Comment:
I don’t know what your deal is with wanting to have a Sugar Daddy’s approval. Get beyond that.
That is what “curation” and “curator” mean to me: setting up someone else as judge, jury, and even executioner, over your own work, your own vision.
I have seen the gravitational tug that forms groups of people on Twitter and in the direct publishing world and I want no part of that. I won’t surrender myself to the approval of other people. If they want that power over me, they can damn well pay for my rent, food, clothing, and technology first. And make no mistake: that’s what you are counting on them to help you do by joining in such groups.
I’ve exchanged email with writers who are afraid of offending certain people, certain groups, because of the perception of alleged power surrounding such people and groups.
That power is illusory. And all power is temporary.
And such power is insanity.
To quote from The Fountainhead:
You were a ruler of men. You held a leash. A leash is only a rope with a noose at both ends.
At one point in the novel, Howard Roark is accosted by someone who has set himself up his judge, jury, and executioner. A slimy little piece of craven crap called Ellsworth Toohey. This is the encounter:
“Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us.”
“But I don’t think of you.”
And that’s my answer to the question I most often get: “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to piss someone off?”
I know who I am.
And just who are you?
Curation: A Dead Idea Of Dead Thinking
Advice Too Good To Lose
YOU’RE NOT IN BINARY OPPOSITION
the reason why many people are toting around the curation tag is because the mainstream print publishing industry is pumping out garbage–but garbage that the mainstream $30-per-new-book-buying-audience thinks it’s just fine. they don’t want to read about pain. they don’t want to read content that falls outside the predictable formula (via @moriahjovan) that they like so much.
i’m not writing for them. most off-beat writers aren’t writing for them. so it’s no fucking mystery that the mainstreamers aren’t publishing us.
while i totally agree about your power points (and i think it’s pretty well established i don’t worry about pissing people off), there is no harm in forming loose interest groups and alliances with other people who can help market our off-beat cause together. strength in numbers.
it ain’t pretty, but it’ll do for now.
Oh, I didn’t say that. I think *readers* want something other than what they have to choose from. They only buy what’s there because, well, that’s what’s there.
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS trust the reader.
IMO, what happens is that people buy what they can get, which the industry takes as “this is what they WANT” when, in fact, that’s a false correlation. You can’t *know* this is what they want if they’re only buying what you give them because they’re junkies and they need their fix.
Likewise, if you publish something but don’t promote it in the least bit, and it doesn’t sell, then it’s somehow the fact that the readers didn’t like it? No. The readers *didn’t know about it*.
The whole thing is built on false assumptions and exponentially more false conclusions.
As noted on Twitter, I think your definition of curator is narrowly defined, so it seems like we’re not on the same page when we mostly are. I do totally disagree with your take on collectives, though. One doesn’t automatically give up their individuality by working within a group. Life isn’t a zero-sum game.