How many cycles between maximalism and minimalism are there before you reach some kind of permanent destination? I'm referring to the strange oscillation that I seem to partake in whenever trying to do anything creative.
It goes something like this: first try--try to pack as many things into your piece as possible, drawing from sources outside of the current medium in order to make up for the lack of knowledge and skill in the current medium; second try--do it again but with better skill, trying to do with the second attempt what the lack of skill prevented in the first try; third try--pare it down to the basics, do only as much as required by the goals of your task, liberally remove areas that are deemed amateurish or naive; forth try--reduce it even further, your piece is now pretty much a single stroke of genius, albiet a small stroke with small range and that which requires an intimate knowledge of the medium you're working in; fifth try--bring the flare back in, pull out all the stops, make something as extravagant and commercial as possible while still intertwining your artistic intention, in fact one could say that it is a comment on the extravagant and commercial. And the cycle begins anew. I've been through it with poems, short stories, and now novels. I've been through it with weblogs, community webites, and commercial websites.
The root of the problem lies in two things: minimalism is not fresh, it cannot express everything that it needs to anymore, since it too has become burdened by the history of minimalism and it's almost as meaningless as any other cliche out there, and two, maximalism is distracting--if you wrap it in the blankets of extravagance and post-modernism and self-indulgent contextual gimmicks, it becomes just that and no matter how subtle and nuanced the message beneath, it will be missed. Less is boring, more is distracting, that's all I'm trying to say.