it needs you but it is not on your side
May 19, 2009, 12:20 am
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , ,

A man brings a large burden to Salon’s Cary Tennis – a sick wife, advanced age and an unrealized childhood dream to write which has fallen short of the mark.  Tennis’s response – to go to the core motivation and to recognize and spurn superficials like awards or sales – is tonic for the compromised artist.

From I feel like quitting writing

But at the age of 55 I now believe that my adolescent insight was essentially correct: As creative people, we do exist in fundamental opposition to the dominant culture. Knowing this, we do not wait to be chosen. Rather, we fight to be heard.

So remember that as a writer you must find your motivation internally, not in external rewards, and you work in opposition to the system, not as a supplicant to the system. Whatever contingent truces you have maintained with the system in order to participate in its orderly orgies of consumption and distribution, good for you. But you are not a part of the system. You are a free creative worker. You do not need the system to do your creating. You only need it as a utility to reach your audience, and increasingly not even for that.

On the other hand, the system cannot create anything on its own. It can only manage and distribute. So it needs you.

It needs you but it is not on your side. Remember that.

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