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  • Nickolas Vaccaro

Art and Community: Publishing as a Young Writer

The purpose of art is as ambiguous as it is important to attempt to answer — art’s place in society and history, its interaction with the practical and political, with the person and the community.

Art (here meant in the broadest sense) neither originates from a single person nor exists without people. It is born in imperfection, in the dirt of everyday life, in the grit of conversation and politics and suffering and hope. The artist, the writer, finds, not creates, art, the poem, the story. 

Because literature is born of the community by which it is later appreciated, because it is recorded in and remembered with the history of a people, of a nation and a world, because it must resonate and move and live and be relevant and imperfect and beautiful — because of this literature must be shared, published, ridiculed, praised. 

The art world — like any industry where something is for something — is an industry. It is not vain to say that the writer writes from an inner, inexpressible calling, and it is not cynical to say that the writer wants to be heard, to comment, question, uplift and inspire change. 

Through publication the writer brings to others their vision and emotion and self. Writing is cast by the hand of publication into the world’s chaos to ripple and to change.  

Publication not only brings to others that which must be seen to live, it also disciplines the writer to create what is, if not popular, then relevant and needed now. Rejection directs the writer not only to improve stylistically, but to change their approach and goal, to look elsewhere, to listen to people and their struggles and hopes  — to understand that art serves people, that people and justice and truth are the makers and the purpose of art. 

Publication teaches us as young writers that we and our writing, like everything else, are imperfect — and that we must be honest and hopeful and brave, and that we can only and always improve.

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