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On Art: The Academy of the Arts

I’ve said several times that I started writing when I was twelve. While I was in eighth grade I finished a first novel, The Scorekeeper, which is tragically lost to the sands of time.

My next effort, though, is preserved in all its emo glory. The Poet Alexander is basically the 180,000-word story of my adolescence, chronicling my experience getting a first job, falling in love (and dealing with all the drama of high school romance), and navigating the treacherous social undercurrents of a tight-knit church youth group.

In other words, it’s probably not something you want to read. But I wrote it under the guise of a fantasy novel, so I spent considerable time developing the setting, figuring out the tangled political dynamics of the town, and creating interesting fantasy parallels for the tedious real-world obstacles I dealt with throughout those tumultuous years.

To that end, I invented a high school for him — the Academy of the Arts at Three Cities. I dreamed up a career path for him, too. In the end, though, it was all about a young man with a love of words trying to pay his bills with his writing

He traveled to a new town, made some new friends, acquired a job that provided room and board for minimal writing-related work, and spent all his time hanging out at the local art school. I spent most of three years writing that book, and looking back on it now, the plot is easily the book’s least interesting element.

The setting is good, the characters are…passable. The male characters, anyway. But the most interesting part of the story by far is the premise.

I only discovered that when I sat down to write up a plot synopsis for this blog post, too. I never realized before how perfectly that story described (when I was just fifteen) exactly what I wanted to do with my life — something I wouldn’t discover for myself until I was several months into my thirties.

The Consortium

I’ve been talking all month about writing as a profession, and I promised way back at the start that I’d offer an alternative to copyright. That alternative is, in a way, patronage. In another way, it’s the Academy of the Arts. In another way, it’s something new altogether.

Whatever it is…I’m working on it.

If you read the series I used to start this week, you know I’ve been doing some research on business plans. That’s not a coincidence. Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you the Executive Summary from my business plan for the Consortium. Really, truly. The time is now.

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