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Art is Shipping

December 19, 2010

It is very hard to ship.  Yet is seems so simple.  In fact all I had to do is open an email, attach a file, and click send.  But every time I thought I was ready to attach that file, I’d think of something else I needed to add, or I’d see an error that I’d somehow previously missed.

I am proud to announce, that I have not only shipped my manuscript for The Starving Artist’s Diet to the publisher, but I have received the actual hard copy of the book back.  The book is a real book with a cover and several pages in between. 

It wasn’t easy. After many nights, mornings, and weekends, I finally decided I just had to send it in. After laboring over the manuscript for one last night, I finally hit the send button.  Of course, the next day I received an email from my publisher telling me that they could not do any layout until they had all the art files.  I guess that makes sense.  The book does have a lot of pictures and I believe part of the book’s success will rely on the unique layout.  So, my momentary joy in the success of shipping had subsided. I was back to the dread of needing to ship again.

Seth Godin said in his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? that “art is shipping.”  He also said that art is only art when it has been shared.  The artist who creates something and never shows it to anyone has essentially not created art.  Just like communication needs a receiver, so does art.  In fact, art is communication.  This is really just the tree falling in the forest issue, right?  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?  I guess art is pretty similar.  If an artist creates a work and no one is around to experience it, is it art?

Along this line of thinking, in order for art to be art, it must be shipped (delivered, given, shared, offered).  Until then, it is just work.

So, now that I have shipped, I have a completed book and now that it is in the hands of the receiver it can be considered art. What level of art may be determined by the reader. But from my point of view, now that I have created, labored, toiled, and shipped (completely), I have achieved art.

It feels good to ship.

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