I took my first-ever fiction workshop with an instructor who boiled the practice of literature down to "It's about this guy...". "What is Novel? What is Story?" he asked the class (as I'm sure every instructor has asked the raw, unspoiled minds of every beginner-level workshop from time immemorial). What is it, we were invited to consider, that we answer when asked what a book is about? "Character!" he capped his dry-erase marker and dropped the proverbial mic. "Character is your everything. The rest is icing on the cake. Why aren't you writing this down?"
How does a writer or artist make their work accessible? "I couldn't get into it" rings as the most frequent damnation from book club circles everywhere. Rebecca Mead lampoons the increasingly prominent "scourge of relatability" in the New Yorker. The commercial audience demands it of their fiction and throws up their hands in despair of any and all poetry