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The artistic life

I’m on vacation, and I just haven’t written as much as I normally do. I’ve taken the time to draw, which is nice. It seems to take just as long to draw as to write. I’m not sure how I’d find the time to do both.
What is more important? Isn’t it just important that I’m engaging in art? Art of any sort is healing. The ideal is to have time to write, sketch, paint, drum… But then there is a job I have to go to.
I have a few friends who essentially have said that art is more important than a job. They have made art their job. They say things like “money is evil”. While I agree that loving money isn’t great, I do like the things that money can buy, like food, shelter, and clothing.
While I don’t live large, I do like to live comfortably. I have a small house. Most of my clothes come from thrift stores. I eat well, in part because I’ve learned how to cook. While I admire the gumption of people who have decided to strike out on their own, I feel a little like they are saying that my path isn’t valid, isn’t authentic. I feel a little like a meat eater versus a vegetarian.
Their way is seen as higher evolved or more mindful. My way is seen as hedging my bets and unwilling to cut loose from the shore. My way is seen as being a slave to “the man”, whoever that is.
They wonder why their friends and relatives don’t support their choice to follow their dreams. The only problem is that “support” means “pay for”. They expect their friends and relatives to buy what they’ve made or go to their seminars. Meanwhile they mock them on social media for staying with their secure job. You know, that job where they earn money to buy their art.
If we all quit our jobs and start making art, then how are we going to pay our bills? Because who is going to come to our our seminars and concerts? Who is going to buy our books and artwork? We will all be starving artists because we won’t have an audience to buy our stuff.
I feel it is very dangerous for an artist to mock her audience, or to make them feel like suckers. If everybody could draw or write or bead or dance then why would they need to see you do it? Why would they need to pay you to do it?
We need gas station attendants. We need janitors. We need garbage truck drivers. We need them the same as we need teachers, doctors, lawyers, and diplomats. Saying that someone is less evolved, less mindful, or is just plain less because they have a “real” job and haven’t cut loose and created a non-profit or live in a commune is thoughtless and cruel, and wrong. It is wrong in the sense of “mean”, but it is also wrong in the sense of “incorrect”.
You can be creative while working for “the man”. It just takes a little figuring out. And to knock down someone else’s lifestyle choice as being less enlightened than yours is, in itself, less enlightened.

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