Would You Take a Bullet For Your Art?

shooting, guns, bullets

Photo from Wired.com

Welcome to Thoughty Thursday! This is the day of the week that y’all get to be privy to whatever thoughts are kicking around in my brain.

This week, I’m thinking about the sacrifices people make for their art.

Sleep, sex, food, time. You name it, and some creative type is likely giving it up for the sake of their art.

Y’all might call me crazy on this one, but I have to draw the line at committing a crime. (I know!!  Can you believe I’m letting my morals get in the way of my art??) I think there’s a logical limit to artistic sacrifice, or there should be.

This last Monday, my honey sent me the following link: ‘Kindness’ author shot himself to promote book.

Say WHAT??! Are you kidding me?

Sadly I’m not. According to the police, memoir author, Raymond Dolan, who is writing about the “Kindness of America,” not only shot himself in the arm, he implicated an innocent man in the shooting.

I’ve heard plenty about “the rigors of book promotion” but COME ON. Really??

This is right up there with lying to Oprah on national television or plagiarizing Nora Roberts. Why would you do it? Not only is it pretty much guaranteed that the world will find out about it, it’s wrong and it’s tacky.

As a fellow memoir writer, I’m particularly offended. What is the point of calling it a memoir if you’re going to lie?

As many of you know, I’ve been participating in a rewarding process called Fast Draft since June 7th. Fourteen writers have banded together to write as much as they can over the course of two weeks (although I’m continuing at least through the weekend).

The goal is 20 pages, but for this practice round, we’ve all been fighting to just get as much on the page as we can. Illness, work schedules, family and a myriad of other things (called LIFE) have gotten in our way, and still we press on. We sit our a$$es in our chairs, even when we don’t feel like it because “zero pages is NOT an option.” We’ve got 13 other people pulling for our success.

You’ll notice I didn’t say the Fast Draft process has been easy. Art and creativity are rarely easy.

I said rewarding because I’ve been watching the beauty of my fellow writers holding out a hand, even when they’re limping through their own journey, to help others. THAT’S what I call ‘kindness.’

OK, I’m opening the floor to y’all because I’m dying ot know what you think.

Did YOU see this story? What did you think of it? What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve ever made for your art? In retrospect, was it worth it? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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47 Responses to Would You Take a Bullet For Your Art?

  1. He SHOT himself!??! Crazy. I love what I do, but I’m not that committed (haha – pun intended) Mostly I’ve sacrificed a lot of sleep, time with the fam, money for conferences, emotional energy – and the blood sweat and tears thing. Probably the same as everyone else. Great post.


  2. As my son would say: What a doojie-butt!


  3. Emma says:

    I didn’t hear that story. Well, he’s certainly dedicated to the marketing process 🙂


  4. No way. No how. I would NOT be shooting myself. That’s just stupid. I love being a writer, but some sacrifices really are too great. I’ve sacrificed the things that most of us do, but I also know where my lines are drawn. For example, if it came down to a choice between my writing and my husband, I’d choose my husband.


  5. Seriously? I’m with Renee’s son: what a doojie-butt (even though I’m not certain exactly what that means). I think that for the most part, the writers who pull those kinds of stunts are more attention seekers than artists. You don’t shoot yourself for your art; you shoot yourself for attention and maybe the prospect of monetary reward. While I love attention and money (not to sound crass), I love creating stories more. I care more about having a meaningful impact on other people’s hearts and minds than I do shocking them with stupid stunts. Ok, I’ll breathe now. Lots of food for thought here.


  6. Dawn says:

    Hadn’t heard this one – definitely crazy (maybe that’s why he’s writing? LOL)


  7. Would the gun shot wound be fatal? If so, I’ll take life over writing. That said, I can’t imagine life without it.


  8. Laura Drake says:

    Does it count as tacky if I shoot someone else, instead?


  9. Amber West says:

    I thought for a moment you were going to mention the performance artist in Japan (I think) who had his, ahem, “business” removed, then cooked the parts up and served them to five bidders.

    All for art.

    Art is subjective, so I am sure there are those that think anything is acceptable in the name of it, but I have to agree with Sara on the attention seeking. Some (I’d venture to say more than some) artists are artists for attention, and of that number, some are really desperate for it.

    I’m not desperate for attention. I’m actually kind of a behind the scenes gal. Soooo, yeah. You won’t be seeing me shooting myself in the arm or serving up my left boob in the name of my art. 🙂


  10. Omg, that guy is nuts! I haven’t heard about this before. I’m shocked!


  11. What a douchebag! Honestly!


  12. K.B. Owen says:

    Hey, he’s taking the bullet for us, haha. With crazies like that out there, the rest of us artists don’t have to go to extremes to scare our neighbors when they find out we’re writers. They’ll keep a healthy distance. Boo-oohh, boogah-boogah! *waving arms in a crazy-person way*

    Definitely “food for thought”! *groan* I did it again! Sorry, Amber!

    I’m here all week, folks. Half-price drinks for the ladies on Fridays.




  13. Catie Rhodes says:

    I wonder if he realized how bad getting shot would hurt before he did it. Other than that, I think it’s pretty funny. I wouldn’t buy his book because of it, though.

    However…let me tell you a little story.

    A few years ago, Lisa Reardon–the self-proclaimed queen of redneck noir–shot her father in the butt. She was convicted and sent to the pen for approximately five years. I have wondered several times if her sales went up.

    BTW…personally, I love her books.


  14. Elena Aitken says:

    Um…that’s crazy talk. I will do many things…but taking a bullet is NOT one of them. Who ARE these people?!
    BTW, good job on fast draft. Just doing what you can is all you can do! Keep it.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, Elena, it certainly is CRAZY. I don’t know who these people are, but can we make a pact to boot ’em out of WANA if they ever find a way in?? I’d like this guy to remain alone in his safe space. (With his gun.)


  15. amyskennedy says:

    I’ve sacrificed a lot… Vacuumed floors, clean clothes, washed hair just to name a few.


  16. Karen McFarland says:

    Okay, I hadn’t heard about this lunatic. What people go through for their art! Well, he’s just crazy.

    And on the Fast Draft part. You Rocked it Jenny! You and the others blasted right through the wall! Especially with everything going on. I told everyone today that I’m not quite sure that I would qualify as a Fast Drafter. But the rest of you did awesome! 🙂


  17. Julie Glover says:

    Goodness gracious, now that’s commitment! And he should be committed. Lunatic.

    Now what would I do to promo my book? Hmmm. Since I’m hoping to self-pub a mystery about arson next year, maybe I could burn myself. Of course, I wouldn’t go third degree burns. Probably not second. How about a vicious sunburn? Would that get the point across? LOL.


  18. Running from Hell with El says:

    In a sense, I have taken a bullet for my art . . . insofar as I have delved in the painful aspects of my past (with all its trauma) in order to make my story in Ripple as real as possible.

    Love this thought-provoking post.


  19. Reetta Raitanen says:

    All of those stories were new to me. Thanks for sharing. The man who shot himself is a total attention whore upped to 11. Sara put it really well: “I care more about having a meaningful impact on other people’s hearts and minds than I do shocking them with stupid stunts.”

    For my writing, I’ve sacrificed time, sleep, family time, hobbies I loved and money for writing courses and guides. And that’s as much as I’m willing to give. Well, aside from future money for some marketing.


  20. Piper Bayard says:

    I saw the story before they found out he shot himself. I hadn’t heard that part. That’s not taking a bullet for your art, that’s taking a bullet for your insecurities and ego. Not to mention your bank account. Shame on him.


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