Those who know me or have read some of my earlier posts know that I am often annoyed by those who feel the need to explain to me or others why a life in the creative industry is not going to end well, either financially or emotionally. These people end up urging their children, my children, my friends, or random strangers who are contemplating such a life to take the safe route. These are the ones who say, “you’ll never make it because the odds are…" you can fill in the blank here but make it good, like “a million to one,” because they always do. Then they urge the children, friends or others to take up a safe job that doesn’t fit their interests. It’s the equivalent (for women) of urging someone to marry the man who’s “good on paper” because you want security.
This always annoys the hell out of me.
Of course, these same individuals talk about how difficult it is to make a living in this current economic climate and that for the first time children may not surpass their parents in earning power due to the worldwide recession. They talk about the need to have a ‘fire in the belly” to make it.
And then they proceed to dump water on the person burning in front of them.
I’ve been on both sides and I think it’s all hard and you’d better be prepared to work for it. Being a lawyer is grueling and stressful and intellectually demanding and interesting and can be very lucrative. It can also be stressful, demanding and not so lucrative. Depends on where you are at any given time in the legal food chain. Is it a safer bet than being a writer or a rock star? Perhaps. The road map to success is better defined for the “regular” jobs, but life throws curves all the time.
And let’s not forget that the biggest curve that life throws is death.
Last Saturday night I was in a club on the South Side of Chicago listening to live rock music and talking to a guitar playing veteran of the music scene in the city. He looked and talked like the musicians that I recall from my childhood; he was a thin, cigarette smoking, avant garde and interesting guy. We got to talking about a life in the relatively risky creative arts and he said, “Look, you could get that safe job and spend your whole life that way, but what are you waiting for? When you’re ninety-six years old and have three days left? Is that when you decide to do what you love?
Here’s what I say;
Someone has to be a rock star; it might as well be you;
Someone has to write books; it might as well be you;
And someone has to sleep with artists, and it might as well be you. So practice that instrument, write those words, put on those heels, and go find something, or someone, to love.
Ran through a fog cloud on the lake. Very cool!
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