When an Inspiring Writer is an Avowed Racist: The Latest Art-Committed Life Newsletter

What to do when the author who inspired Stephen King and Ridley Scott admired Hitler for his commitment to the purity of the Aryan race? I explore the topic of 20th Century speculative fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft and how to wrestle with his legacy in the 21st Century in my latest Art-Committed Life newsletter.

I also:

  • Provide a brief insight (inspired by Matt Bell) on eliminating unnecessary words in your prose, and
  • Wrap up my thoughts on a frequent topic from this year, plotters vs. pantsters.

I hope you enjoy the latest issue of The Art-Committed Life Newsletter, which as always contains musings for creatives (in particular creative writers). You can subscribe to future issues on my website.

3 thoughts on “When an Inspiring Writer is an Avowed Racist: The Latest Art-Committed Life Newsletter

  1. Great newsletter! Thanks for the link to the post on hunting weasel words. I’m always amazed at how many of those darn things sneak into my prose.

    I enjoyed your article on Lovecraft. I tried to read him back in high school, when I became a huge Stephen King fan, read Danse Macabre, and decided that if Steve liked Lovecraft, then I had to like Lovecraft. Spoiler alert: I did not like Lovecraft. I knew nothing about his views and was far too sheltered and obtuse to pick up on them from his work. I just found him boooorrrriiiinnnngggg.

    I find it a tough call when someone whose work I admire turns out to have said or done awful things. I’d like to say I think carefully through each situation and make a principled decision, but I don’t. Sometimes the artist’s behavior is enough to keep me from enjoying the work, and sometimes it isn’t. Humans are complex, and few if any are entirely good or entirely evil. But the ratio sure does vary from person to person, and sometimes the evil crowds out the good–and the work.

    I’ve rambled enough here, but thank you for making me think about this topic again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I only recently finished going through my manuscript on the weasel word search. It was painful, but at least as I got further into the list the appearances were fewer, and more of them were reasonable. So it became a bit less depressing.

      Also thanks for your thoughts on the main article, and you weren’t rambling. Like me you have a good out in that you found Lovecraft boring as well. It is probably a case-by-case basis how to react to an author about which you are passionate. A corollary: When I was young I was obsessed with Woody Allen. I had seen every one of his movies and could quote many by heart. I also discovered he wrote humorous essays and read every one of them. After he ran off with his adopted daughter, however, that was it for me. I couldn’t watch him or his movies without getting angry and disgusted. A recent documentary revealed far worse things about him, and I feel vindicated in turning away from his work.

      I will say that from a craft perspective I learned one thing from Lovecraft. In his later works he got better at building suspense (hard to do when he’s always telling it first person looking back into the past, so you know the narrator is okay). He did a great job of slowing down at the most tense moments, prolonging the suspense. I went and edited the climax of my novel-in-progress to heighten the tension and feel I improved it. So we can always learn something from other writers, I suppose!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fortunately I never got into Woody Allen, but my whole family loved Bill Cosby—until we learned he’s a rapist. It was not fun explaining to my then-middle-school-aged son why I didn’t find Cosby funny anymore. The guy was a comedic genius, but some actions are heinous enough to spoil even the most brilliant work.

        Liked by 1 person

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