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Sword of Zornhau

Artistic Integrity

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Some time in the Northern Dark Ages…

It’s some time in the Northern Dark Ages. A poet recites his new work to the King and his warriors:

POET: …and Grendel runs off into the night, bleeding, dying. Beowulf takes the trolls dismembered arm and nails it high on the rafters of the Hall of Heriot!

(Bows.)

KING: Well… I don’t know. It seemed kind of short.

POET: No, no, Lord, that was just a pause of effect. Grendel, of course had a mother. That night as the revellers slumber, she comes to the hall, wet-handed, bloody-minded…

(Later)

POET: And still clutching the ancient sword, Beowulf swims to the surface and surprises his mourning friends.

(Bows.)

WARRIORS: Rah!

KING: …I don’t know… I mean, it’s a hero tale, but where is the dragon.

POET: Dragon? WTF? Oh, DRAGON. Yes, I haven’t finished yet.

Years later, when Beowulf is an old man…

And thus the poet got paid — or at least got to eat — and we got the poem Beowulf.

The king, you see, was right.

If an artist has integrity, then so must their audience. Sometimes the greatest art comes from the meeting of the two.

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(Cross posted from www.mharoldpage.com. Your LJ ID should enable you to comment here or there.)
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Point well worth consideration, indeed...

I guess the obvious question is how you get the same feedback in the modern ways. I think this is quite an exciting time, because suddenly you could find yourself singing for thousands of kings at once.
Some of us have editors... :)

That's actually what sparked the blog entry. My editor wanted some changes, I discussed them, agreed and moved on to how to make them work. He seemed a little surprised at my cheerful compliance, and I referenced the Beowulf poet.
Sword of Zornhau

July 2014

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