At Least I’m Not a Dancer
October 22, 2008
I feel lately like I’ve been hitting the wall with my “writing” “career,” and from what I’ve seen of the seemy underbelly of the publishing industry lately even the thought of writing, much less trying to get published, makes me ill. Writing is fine but “being a writer” is sort of like being a whore but for less money. And everybody thinks they’re a better whore than you, and they’re probably right.
This is not a solicitation for “oh noes don’t stop writing” comments but a serious issue, here: is it possible in 2008 for a person working in a creative field to NOT specialize? I am wondering this because my full tear through several arts fields (music, theater, writing, art) has left me going in all sorts of directions at once. I used to be proud that I wasn’t a specialist but now I’m in my thirties and mostly I want to take naps and make (visual) art and that’s it. Two exchanges also stick in my mind:
1994: My high school chemistry teacher asked me what creative field I was going to pursue and when I said “all of them” he advised me that I was setting myself up for disappointment.
2006: A friend from CalArts posed the question: “If you had to stop either writing or taking photographs, which would you stop?” and I said, without hesitating, “writing. I would stop writing.” My friend seemed shocked by this; she also does both but had the opposite answer. To her mind, writing was/is more intimate and expressive, but maybe that’s why my decision was unblinking in the first place.
But I’m thinking that taking a break from writing now means what little window of opportunity I might have will evaporate completely. Though that window is closing a little faster every day, while I still feel like I can be a photographer and not make work for a six month stretch (heh) and pick it up again.
On the other hand, I still think my 1994 self has the right idea (I wish I had his energy).