Everyday my toddler comes home from daycare with a piece of paper covered in random squiggles of crayon. She displays it proudly to her mother and me.
"I make!" She says. "I make!"
Everyone possesses something of the creative urge, the desire to mold a child of the mind out of inspiration and effort. Children are allowed to express it, to put part of themselves into a misshapen clay ashtray, a lopsided blue house drawn on construction paper, or sparkles and glue on a paper plate. Sometime around the teenage years the urge gets suppressed in many people, or hidden, perhaps as a defensive mechanism. It's hard to see your child derided, laughed at, or ignored, so most of us consciously stop creating them. The urge doesn't go away, it never will, it just finds new avenues, ones that aren't as vulnerable to the criticism of the world.
I have a friend that prides himself on the crispness of his lane changes on the highway. I have another who tries to cast an 8 ounce fishing weight one yard further down the high school football field every day after class is over. Cast, reel in, cast. Again and again and again, for an hour a day. When he reaches 100 yards, is it Art? 150? If he ever reaches 200, he'll be one of only a handful of men in the world who have done so. How could it not be Art? He's not trying for 200, though. He's trying for one yard further than yesterday.
Is blogging Art? It's bound to be, eventually. There are too many people participating for it not to eventually produce works of staggering intellect, transcendent beauty and infectious humor. Many will argue that it already has. But most of us aren't aiming for those Olympian heights, not just yet. Most of us want to cast one yard further than we did yesterday.
It was with that in mind that I created the Carnival of the Vanities. Blogging, if nothing else, is the bleeding edge of vanity publishing. If we didn't think we had something valuable to say, we wouldn't be doing this. We're not stupid, we don't expect Art to appear from the rearranged electrons when we write a post, but we do know when something we've created is a little bit better than the things we have done before. And we cast the child of our mind out into the ether, where it's derided, laughed at, ignored, and sometimes praised, pointed out to the world by a complete stranger who, simply by the act of pointing says Hey, that's pretty cool.