January 4th, 2007


Living in the Woods

Bathing in Old Light

I just applied for a job that I don’t want but that I’m very qualified for. I did this because it would just about double my pay, and making twice as much as I do now would make me very comfortable. It would mean that I could travel to Japan to see Rachel and keep my bank account full, and keep up to date with new fashions (which I don’t really care about but would have to do in the job) and just generally be comfortable. Comfortable doing something obnoxious.

I read an essay last year that talked about this very dilemma with artists. An artist, wanting to pursue their art will most likely need to take a job so that they can eat and live someplace (preferably with plumbing). A bright artist might take a job that is low patience that will allow them to devote most of their time to their art. Being bright and creative, this will quickly be perceived by employers who will offer greater responsibility and pay in order to capitalize on the talent of their employee. This will leave less time for art, but more pay, and after a while living off cheap food and in the same underwear gets uncomfortable. Being qualified for positions of greater responsibility, the artist then finds a job with more time, more responsibility and more creative energy required, for more pay, of course, but less time for the art they want to do. Take this job, and the artist may not be an artist for much longer.

This essayist recommended living in the woods, unemployed, until you had created something of great value, until art was your livelihood. Still, even living in the woods costs something. It’s a dilemma.

What I do now is write after work, write during work (haha) and write at lunch. I write every day, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for hours. The job I applied for, obnoxious as it would be, would not mean that I couldn’t write at home, so I think it’s still worth going for. This semester I’m writing my thesis. With one more class to go and my 3.8 GPA firmly in hand, I feel confident about graduating. What comes next after my Masters degree?

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