Iconic Giants – Will we ever again find our Firsts, our Pioneers?

31 Aug

I had planned to write another ‘cleaning up our manuscript’ post, but last night I was thinking about Rules, and about the creative endeavor, about where we’ve been and where we are and where we will go. I thought about those who came before, and those who will be remembered. I wondered, who will be most remembered twenty, thirty, forty, one-hundred, two-hundred years from now? Do we have the ability to create Classics, or Firsts, or Pathways, in literature, music, art? Or have the molds been made and then placed behind thick glass to preserve them and we can only hope to find some spot in an ever-expanding crowd of creativity?

There was a time before Rules. There was a time when writers, artists, architects, dancers, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, etcetera, made the rules, because they trod where no one else had ever been before. It’s difficult now to find the places where no one has been, which is why there are “The Classics,” and why we have those literary (and other creative) giants/icons who are held up as larger than life, their images on cups and t-shirts and postage stamps, their works examples for those who follow. One glance at most of these images and you know who they are. One mention of a phrase and one knows who said it or wrote it, and it is deemed brilliant, never to be touched again by another – right? Are we creating our own paths, or new ones? Are brilliant works and new paths simply swallowed by the glut of All That Out There Everywhere?

Just as civilizations are built and then built upon and built upon again and again, so it is with language and music and art and science. There was the creating of new ways. And now, we build upon those “ways” — we have rules we follow because they were established before us, and we build on those, and sometimes we throw them out, and sometimes we morph them, and sometimes we break them gently and ungently. Language, art, science, mathematics, the creative endeavor, is a living breathing thing, a malleable thing.

Who will find their face on a cup? Who will be caricatured on a t-shirt? Who will be our icons and giants? Or will we hold onto our iconic giants, those who cleared a path for all the rest of us so that the struggle isn’t quite so difficult . . . ?

I’ll be back tomorrow with “cleaning up our manuscripts . . . “

11 Responses to “Iconic Giants – Will we ever again find our Firsts, our Pioneers?”

  1. T. Anne August 31, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    I'd like to see a trailblazer who hacks their way through the glacier of publishing and brings down the gate keepers thus making publishing a fair and relatively quick endeavor. One can dream right?

  2. Sandra Leigh August 31, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    I like to think of the arts, like the sciences, as a collaborative effort. Isaac Newton said "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." The same could be said by any great artist. The fact that these giants have gone before does not preclude the creation of great art – it is what makes great art possible.

  3. B.J. Anderson August 31, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    Nice, deep questions! And ones I can't answer without my coffee! You have a great point, and I think we are bound by rules and those who came before us. If we want to get published or get our works out there, we can't really break those rules. Hmmm. Very interesting. Thanks for making me think this morning. Now, off for some coffee.

  4. Deb Shucka August 31, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    Great questions. Lots to ponder. Thanks for the brain food.

  5. Lori August 31, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    I strongly believe in the importance of breaking the rules, as soon as the rules become known to you. I think one cannot be honest to one's uniqueness unless they break the mold. How else can you be true to yourself? Those giants before us did not make rules, but art. We turned it into rules, to make it more accessible, easier to replicate. But once we're able to understand and copy them, we need to go further, don't we? Otherwise we'll all be just pitiful (though crafty) fakes.

  6. Barry August 31, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    Aaron Spelling comes to mind, and then I just start laughing and laughing!!

  7. Jessica August 31, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    Sometimes I wonder about this too, whether what I'm doing is anything new, if it's possible for there to be something new, and what is new anyway? It's like colors. Can we create a new color? Or have they all been created and can we only change the shade?Interesting thoughts. I wonder too, who will be a classic one hundred years from now?

  8. Lazy Writer August 31, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Deep, deep, deep! I wish I had a intriguing response, but I don't. I do think the rules are there for a reason, but I also think if they aren't broken, nothing new will ever come along. Hmm…I need to think about this some more.

  9. Carol @ TheWritersPorch August 31, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    Most of those Giants you have pictured…..did break the rules! :)

  10. Strange Fiction August 31, 2009 at 9:50 pm #

    Okay, I've been thinking about this off and on all day.. and I have a morbid fear that it shall be Elvis' and *shudder* Michael Jackson's faces that will live on in the landfills. On the plastic cups anyway…

  11. Linda September 1, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Well I can't help but think of the numbers. How many more of us there are now than there were of them then. Not only did they get first dibs on all the “rule making / rule breaking” but they had more of the playground to themselves. And then there’s the fact that our playground brings us so much closer to each other – we are intimately aware of what's been done already. Perhaps knowing that the leaps have already been taken makes us tend to sit in our swing instead of flinging ourselves skyward, arms flapping wildly and screaming in delight! Or am I just making excuses for myself . . .

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