Hands on the table where I can see them…

There’s nothing quite like waking yourself up at the crack of dawn to write, only to find that your brain has decided to take the day off and left you struggling with a severe case of writer’s block. The empty page stares up at you from the computer screen, almost mocking you as you fail to fill it with anything of substance.

-That’s me today. I’m honestly struggling. For some reason unbeknownst to me, my head has decided that it just doesn’t want to write. So what do I do? Well my initial thought was to take the morning off and go back to bed, but then I thought, fuck it. I’ll just push a little harder and see what I come up with. Sometimes all you need to break out of a rut is to change tact and try and hit your problems from a new angle. So with that said, it’s time for one of those awkward put your hands on the table where I can see them while I press my linguistic gun to your head and spit my own misguided rhetoric at you moments…

Creativity is dead. Actually, let me retract that and try again. Creativity is a bloated aging whore that has been beaten and battered to the point of total exhaustion. She lies in a state of semi-consciousness on a threadbare mattress in a shit-fight of a room awaiting a knight in shining armour to come and cease her terrible suffering. As she lies with her ear propped against the wall, she can hear into the next room. Sounds of debauchery fill her ears as her younger counterpart uniformity is bent over and fucked by every so called artist vying to make it big.

Sounds vulgar doesn’t it? Well it should. For this is the state of our creative industries nowadays. Once upon a time artists were revered for their talents; they were praised for their abilities to weave intricate tales of romance and affection, ruin and woe. But now, in our ever¬-evolving society we have shifted our focus away from devouring and worshiping originality and focused instead on producing easily palatable artworks that fall in line with our preconceived idea that everything must have an expiry date of five minutes. We focus more intently on the misguided antics of the artist than what they are actually producing – and we do this because what they produce is more often than not mind-numbingly shit.

It really is a sad state of affairs, especially for someone like me, who is looking at breaking into the elusive world of publishing. A writer/artist used to strive to create a truly unique tale in order to secure a book deal or the likes, yet now it seems as though the key to finding success is to duplicate the works of your predecessors as closely as possible without being labelled a fraud. A long time ago a man by the name of Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch proposed the idea that there were only seven basic conflicts in literature. Quiller-Couch proposed that from these seven conflicts a talented writer would be able to construct an endless myriad of unique ideas and produce a story worthy of acclaim. The wordsmith’s conflicts were as follows:

1. Man against man.
2. Man against nature.
3. Man against himself.
4. Man against God.
5. Man against society.
6. Man caught in the middle.
7. Man and woman.

Yet somewhere along the way, literature and society lost its way and lost sight of the meaning behind Quiller-Couch’s list. The list was originally intended as a foundation upon which a writer can build, however more and more increasingly it seems as though writers are quite literally limiting themselves to the brief bullet points on this list. Imagination and creativity are no longer valuable commodities in our society.

We used to worship the new and unexpected. We used to praise an artist who was willing to push the boundaries of their craft in an effort to develop something truly unique. Now however, we seem content to consume second rate shit and scorn the notion of a truly beautiful, truly unique piece of work. Something needs to change. Writers need to stop patronising their readers and actually dig deep and create something worthwhile rather than continuing to spew forth the dribble filling bookstore shelves. And readers in turn need to stop being so willing to digest the bullshit flooding best seller’s lists and instead venture deeper into the world of literature and start sifting out those wondrous novels sitting dormant on shelves just waiting to be discovered.

And there we have it. Rant over, my negativity has been voiced and you are free to take your hands off the table. Stand up, stretch out your legs, and try just for one moment to take what I have said into account before you eventually come to the realisation that I’m nothing more than a narcissist suffering from delusions of grandeur. Try to read something new and exciting rather than reaching for the tried, true and downright fucking boring. I’ll be in touch again soon…

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

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