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Journal Thrive

Why Infinite is the Enemy of Great

Several of my books are stand-alone volumes, but design. I said what I wanted to say. It’s out of my system, there’s nothing else that I need to explore, I’m done. I recognize that when one of those books becomes popular, there is a culture urge to exploit it and expand upon it. Fans want sequels. Business sense says create them and grab that cash. There’s more to it than that. Infinite is the enemy of great, a lot of the time.

Not everything needs to be a trilogy, or a franchise, or six seasons and a movie. Sometimes creative works are best when they stand alone. The expectation of endless more is the result of this consumer society. If people want it, they should get it, and that’s a good enough reason. If money can be made off of it, then the company has a duty to do it. Madness.

Ugh.

You can see it in the entitlement of fandom. Star Wars fans who demand that the last three films be remade to suit their tastes, because they are financially and emotionally invested in the IP. Harry Potter fans who feel that they, not J.K. Rowling, no own that universe because they love it so, in order to separate the books, films, and merch from their transphobic creator. Dungeons & Dragons fans who hate the racist, misogynistic, and colonialist legacy of the game and its creators, so they feel it should be changed and the problems erased because damn it, they still want to play but not feel guilty about it.

We often ruin things by piling onto them. Opportunities for new things are lost when we continue to invest in more of the old, familiar things. We need to stop. Let things find their level. Allow things to be what they are, as long as they are. Let creators make the things they want to make, the way they want to make them. Put the emphasis back on quality, rather than quantity.

Why Infinite is the Enemy of Great

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

Categories
Journal Thrive

What Happens When You Refuse to Be Typecast

One of the few things that Katie brought with her from the United States is a small Georgia O’Keeffe print. She bought it on a trip to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe, and it now hangs in our living room. It is not a painting of a giant flower. For me, it’s come to symbolize the creative needs of the creator, and the need to refuse to be typecast by your audience. Allow me to explain.

On that trip (as Katie tells it, I was not there), another woman was loudly complaining. There were, in her assessment, not enough Georgia O’Keeffe paintings in the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. The fact is that all of the work displayed there is hers. It covers her entire career. What the woman meant was that it wasn’t all flower paintings, because that’s what she’d come there to see.

This is the equivalent of going to see a band in concert, and complaining that they’re playing deep cuts and stuff off of their new album. They want a set list that’s just a rundown of the greatest hits collection. To which I say, ugh.

Recently I had an encounter with someone who was exasperated that I write and publish a variety of things. They expressed a wish that I’d focus on one thing, the thing that they personally like best, and stick with that. I get it. There have been times when I’ve been the woman in the O’Keeffe museum, or the casual-fan concertgoer.

Take a Deep Breath, Berin

I explained there are creative and economic realities to be considered. Let’s start with the financial side of things. I do not have a wildly popular hit. There is no one thing that brings in the bulk of my income. If there were, I might concentrate on that cash cow. The reality of this business, though, is that you need to diversify to earn a living. So I write many things for many tastes, which gives me a broad enough back catalog that I can survive on long-tail sales.

Even if I did have a runaway hit, though, I’d need to do other things. There would be a point where it would become forced, creatively bankrupt, and not fulfilling. Think of that TV series that went on too long. You know what I’m talking about. To keep things fresh, I need to be able to play with different ideas and express myself in different ways.

I have more ideas down this path. Stay tuned.

What Happens When You Refuse to Be Typecast

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal

The Definition of Art is a Zen Koan

For centuries people have debated over the definition of art. What qualifies as art, and what doesn’t? My wife Katie and I have probably had hundreds of hours’ worth of conversations over where the line between ‘art’ and ‘craft’ falls. Ultimately I think the definition of art is a zen koan. There is no answer. We need to continually try to define art because it’s the means through which we increase our personal appreciation of art.

Having a single, definitive definition of what art is would exclude people. New artists, with new materials and techniques and things to say, would automatically be left out of the conversation. It wouldn’t even lock art to the present, because it couldn’t even accommodate things being created right now. It would have to be based on some point in the past. Definition would create stagnation.

Art is a Zen Koan

If you enjoyed this post, you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.