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A Writer's Mandala

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des
Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 04:36 am:   

The five progressions (where your own specificity intersects) of a writer's mandala are shown below. Some are positive-to-negative progressions, others not.


(1) Means of fiction transmission
Mainstream professional .....Semi-professional ... Small or Independent Press ... Self-published (print or internet) (publication-on-reading?).... Vanity Press

(2) Personal drive (derived by money needs, ego, artistic conviction etc.?)
Publish at all costs (or at greatest reward?) .... Art For Art's Sake or kept in cupboard

(3) Perceived talent
Very skilled ... pedestrian.

(4) Market suitability of one's writing
Commercial (bestseller material) .... commercial mainstream .... jobbing writing ... uncommercial (acquired taste)

(5) Luck
Always in the right place at the right time ... always subject to sod's law.


The above spectra do not conflate but they do intersect.

des
http://www.weirdmonger.com

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des
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 09:08 am:   

I tried above elsewhere - resulting in an exploding head, a toilet and a wonderfully inspiring response from Jon Merz:
http://p082.ezboard.com/fshocklinesforumfrm2.showMessageRange?topicID=31382.topi c&start=1&stop=20
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des
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 05:15 am:   

I'm sure Jon Merz won't mind me reproducing his views on the Mandala - as they are on a public thread elsewhere but as it is an impermanent thread, they are worth crystallising below, I feel:
*********

It's not that you have to agree with the mandala at all. The purpose of mandala isn't that you necessarily find the one image/personality that fits you and that's it. The mandala is used to help you gain the perspective of how *other* personalities operate, thereby granting you a better understanding of yourself in relation to the universe. One way you do this is by choosing (or through random selection) a personality and then setting your life up to personify it.

In certain sects of Buddhism, there are different mandala, each offering many hundreds or thousands of personalities or incarnations that help those aspiring to understand themselves and the universe the ability to do so. Some of the incarnations are simply defined, such as a "heroic" ideal or even a "demonic" ideal. The aspirant then embodies the characteristics that define that incarnation for a certain period of time and then moves on to another and so on.

Looking at it from a more modern viewpoint, you could examine your own life and figure out where you fit in Des' mandala above. If you've enjoyed some commercial success, you might - as an experiment - choose to look at life from the viewpoint of someone who is just starting out with no success, say, for a week. How would you write? How would you view your future and the potential it might contain? How would you even post on message boards when operating from that perspective?

Or flip it around. If you're a newbie, start functioning as if you'd just written a bestseller. How would you behave then? Would your success humble you or turn you into a raging jerk? Would you help others or would you shit all over those who hadn't yet achieved the level you had?

Mandalas are useful tools for illuminating the millions of perspectives available to all of us every single moment or every day. If you cling to only one viewpoint or one belief system without taking the opportunity to explore the many varied perspectives of other people (thereby learning how to respect those you may not even remotely agree with), then the belief is you are not fully embracing all that life has to offer. You are locking yourself in a prison that you have built and when you die, you will come back to learn the lessons you should have learned in this lifetime, rather than move on to the next stage of existence.

You don't have to be a Buddhist to appreciate this. All you need to do is understand whether you are open-minded enough to explore these concepts or are more comfortable operating from the perspective of limited experience. Neither is necessarily right or wrong. There are plenty of narrow-minded zealots who would argue their life is successful, and, given the parameters of their life, they might well be correct - from their perspective. Just so, there are plenty of people who embrace any new concept and would say their life is just as successful, even if they fail to meet the parameters of the zealot's life.

Des' mandala is interesting but by no means all inclusive, especially if you take a gander at the many weird personalities that post just on message boards and how people carry themselves in the cyber environment alone.

It's all a matter of perspective.

(so ends comments by Jon F Merz)


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des
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 12:52 pm:   

So following further input, I've added two vectors to the original Mandala:


(1) Means of fiction transmission
Mainstream professional .....Semi-professional ... Small or Independent Press ... Self-published (print or internet) (publication-on-reading?).... Vanity Press

(2) Personal drive (derived by money needs, ego, artistic conviction etc.?)
Publish at all costs (or at greatest reward?) .... Art For Art's Sake or kept in cupboard

(3) Perceived talent
Very skilled ... pedestrian.

(4) Market suitability of one's writing Commercial (bestseller material) .... commercial mainstream .... jobbing writing ... uncommercial (acquired taste)

(5) Luck
Always in the right place at the right time ... always subject to sod's law.

(6) Legacy
Durable ... easily forgotten*

*example: typical airplane or beach reading.

(7) Fanbase
Millions .... Coterie
(for example a writer could have say 150,000 on a blog but another writer 5000 for a book).

Some of the progressions above are simply positive to negative, others not.
Whilst they do intersect, they do not conflate.

des
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des
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 12:51 am:   

As extrapolation, I feel (3) is subjective and objective synergistically, indeed subjective and objective in how the writer *sees* the objective subjectivity and subjective objectivity (vis a vis his 'talent') of his readers who are, of course, separate from him...as well as how he *sees* his own views on his own 'talent'.

I think (2) is appropriate for id, ego and nemo alike. However, any suggested re-wordings or additional vectors (or subtractions) would be welcome. I shall be updating the whole chart here:
http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2006/02/writers-mandala.html

Incidentally, an illuminating exercise is aligning (by empathy with its author) a known work with the mandala.

Try Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
des


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