One Year Down the Path
Another friend started an ezine this month. After reading her announcement, I tried to count how many friends and acquaintances fell prey to electronic publishing mania since Crescent Blues posted its first stories last October and realized I lost track. This is not a good sign, although I suspect a number of my acquaintances felt the same way when we launched Crescent Blues.
I hope my friend knows what she's getting into. After far too many years of doing this for the government, I did, but I still find myself resenting the personal time lost to transcribing interviews, scrambling for pictures, revisiting decisions "finalized" last month…
Not that I knock the benefits. Association with a professionally produced magazine gives you access to writers, artists, performers and the people in their circle as an equal instead of a supplicant. The great truth of modern entertainment in all its varied forms is that everyone wants publicity. Once you become part of the information machine, you become a necessary part of the creative process. Wonderful people want to talk to you as much as you want to talk to them.
Still, it bothers me that I can no longer distinguish between my colleagues' products. If I can't tell them apart, how will the general reader fare? How will Crescent Blues fare? As Anne, our marketing director, keeps reminding me, every product needs a unique identity -- something that sets it apart from everything else on the market. It's a matter of credibility as much as sales.
My friend's ezine, like so many others, seeks to help writers polish their craft and promote their works. Crescent Blues certainly doesn't want to hurt any of the varied folk featured in the 'zine, but I'm afraid we seek to satisfy a more basic instinct: curiosity.
What inspired that story or that song? How did this artist achieve that effect? Why did they change their style? Where does the creative impulse come from? What determines its individual forms? How has the vision of the artist, performer, writer transformed us and redefined our goals? How does a person's conversation about his or her work redefine the way we view that work?
These questions know no genre boundaries. They apply as much to dance as they do to a poem. No two people answer the same question the same way, and you can never predict which answer will open the floodgates of your own imagination.
In that respect, Crescent Blues reads like a How's That Made? (tr) for the creative process. Not an easy concept to transform into a sound bite or a carefully refined niche market, but it does allow us to forge our own path. The way may be overgrown and not always clear, but you seldom find serendipity in a too formal garden.
Jean Marie Ward