Like work and bills and debt and job and…well you get the idea.
I’ve been working since age 14.
I’m now 55.
For 41 years, which is longer than most of my friends have been alive, I’ve been dedicating my existence to a time clock. Because I’ve always wanted to be a writer, I never connected with a career like doctor, lawyer, CEO. It was difficult to fathom making that kind of life commitment for the advancement of some unseen entity rather than for myself.
We are conditioned to spend a lifetime grinding away for the sake of creature comforts. Our society is not molded to support the arts and the artists that create them. Most parents tell their children to pursue something more realistic in order to “make it” out there in the world.
Could you imagine Beethoven’s mom telling him to get his ass off the piano and focus on putting in his 8-12 hour day for a pittance called wages? How many paintings would not grace the walls of museums? How many songs would be unheard? How many books would be unwritten? There would be no need for movie theaters, or stages for plays.
It’s always been interesting to me how many other countries put not only money and programs into place, but couldn’t even imagine stifling the arts like we do here.
I’ve always thought it interesting when we see end of days movies, how the one thing survivors most strive for is the ability to wage war…again. How many of those movies do we see where landmarks and precious pieces of art are overgrown and damaged? I’m that nerd sitting in the back thinking, “wow, the Louvre is no more,” while the person next to me is whispering, “damn, they need to get those missile silos up and running.”
I also admonish myself regularly when I realize that if I put even an iota of the energy I dedicate to my “job” into my artistic craft, well hell, I’d be Picasso, or Sylvia Plath, or Bach.