Dystopia literally means “not-good place” and is a term used to describe a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. Dystopian novels were all the rage back when during the Cold War, possibly as a way to warn people of the perils of such a totalitarian regime as the Communist one. As a fictional genre, dystopias have the uncanny characteristic of painting a rather hopeless future for society.
Here are four dystopian novels that are eerily close to becoming true:
Henry Miller’s prose is unconventional, unapologetically sexual and philosophical, the topic of much controversy (his books were banned in the US until 1961), which is why he’s the kind of writer who has something to teach you about writing.
There’s a part of me that believes art to be a primordial aspect of the human condition. Art inspires, art is a way of achieving greatness, of building a better world. Art turns strangers into friends. Without art, without artists, we wouldn’t be ourselves anymore.
Because I feel that within the confines of any artistic form of expression, we allow ourselves to wear a mask. The artist hides behind words or paints or brushes. And he feels safe. He can be anyone he wants to be. His freedom is limitless. And he plays this bizarre game of hide and seek with the rest of the world, constantly changing the rules, until he decides – maybe on a mere subconscious level – to be himself, thinking that people will never find out.
“if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it.”
― Charles Bukowski
Passion. Defined as a strong and barely controllable emotion. Fire. Defined as a destructive burning of something. Sounds pretty bad now, doesn’t it? But, if you think about it for a while, creation is a destructive process. Or is it the other way around?
But I do wonder, did you find your passion? Are you sure? Is it the thing that controls you? Make you want to jump out of the bed in the morning? The thing you can’t live without?
The artist. A solitary genius. A creator of beauty so sacred that we can’t help but love and fear at the same time.
“He’s a true artist,” we find ourselves saying, and it’s these words put together that conjure up the vision of someone whose inexorable destiny was to create, even at the expense of having to endure a lifetime of humility and frustration and social alienation.
The true artist is often misunderstood. He’s utterly and inconsolably alone with his art. And it is that art, that we all revere, that we’d think of as a bridge, that art is actually a wall. The artist hides behind this wall, refusing to face reality.
But times are changing. The artist has little choice in the matter: he either dies an artist or lives long enough to see himself become a creative entrepreneur.
I’d say that I’ve come a long way from my high school years, when I was struggling to find people who’d be interested in reading my stories. I’m not going to lie: it’s important to know that someone reads your stuff, that someone cares. Makes you feel less alone, and isn’t that one of the reasons we write?
And I appreciate that, and I’m truly grateful for being able to present my ideas or ask questions, to expect a response every single time I need one. But the truth is, we never write for a bunch of people. Yes, we talk a lot about finding our target audience, about all the ways we can improve how we reach our target audience, but that soon becomes a vague term, one that is used to define different people, who only share a number of preferences.
“From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.”
Katsushika Hokusai (c. October 31, 1760 – May 10, 1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter, and printmaker of the Edo period.
Born in Edo (modern day Tokyo), Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the iconic print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa.