Art Imitates and Instructs

Yin Yang Tree

In a two-sided manner, artists imitate life while presenting a moral or aesthetic message. (Image: public domain.)

The Two Aspects of Art

Art has a dual role: to imitate life and to instruct. Nowhere in art is this duality more important than in the art of writing. Words can tackle complex issues in ways that painting, sculpting, or dance, simply cannot. This is not to suggest other art forms have nothing to say. It is just that writing goes beyond the brilliant snapshots of painting and sculpture, however perceptive, suggestive, and evocative they may be, and can pack more into a couple of hours exposure than any ballet or modern dance performance. Words transcend emotion, beauty, and grace to tackle the difficult worlds of abstract ideas and morality.

Does this seem beyond the concern of genre writers who may be working in, for example, the science fiction or fantasy categories? It simply is not so. As I have pointed out in my earlier post, “Indie Writers Are Artists Too,” even the most genre-oriented writers need to understand that everything they write has a message, even if they are unaware of what that message is. Good writers – good artists – take charge of their message to make sure their work says something they believe in.

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