Friday, April 17, 2009

Great, Productive, and Beloved: Pick 2

An artist can be Great, Productive, and Beloved, but probably not all three at once.
  • Great and Productive: Great and Productives, later in life when there's money, may be beloved by a servile non-entity. Before then, partners, if any, feel neglected and jealous of the writer's devotion to writing (Ted Hughes, The Brontes, Flannery O'Connor, T.S. Eliot, Derek Walcott, Doris Lessing). Public opinion has it that "they're not very nice people."
  • Productive and Beloved: Egged on by warmth and approval, these do it all: literature, journalism, essays, poems, maybe even drama. (Stephen King, George Eliot, Joyce Carol Oates, Maya Angelou, Rudyard Kipling, Mary Oliver, Joan Didion). The drawback: the "Great" label is rarely bestowed.
  • Beloved and Great: probably foreign or ethnic or very old; flies around the world receiving honors, giving readings to packed rooms at universities. Years may pass between books (Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Elie Wiesel, Chinua Achebe, Ko Un).
You can be the first writer on your block to be Great, Productive, and Loved. When you manage it, tell us how you did it. It is my goal.


  1. Thank you for this. I love it.

    And you are already Productive, Beloved and Great, in my book.

  2. Beloved & great = dead.