I read this article and what fascinated me was not what the authors said (because I know that writing can be like any other job at times, that it can be exhausting and seem pointless…and then there are the times when it is an absolute joy), but the comments that follow.
The mocking of some of the authors’ work, the accusations of whining. I can understand why people think that those authors ought to be grateful to be writing for a living (a lot of comments were from people who wrote around a day job and children and life) indeed it is a privilege to be able to make a living out of your work; but that doesn’t make it any less of a job.
The most interesting comment for me was one where the commenter said that the authors should not whine about their jobs because no one asked them to become writers; further that unlike doctors etc society doesn’t need writers (I would hazard a guess that that would include all of the arts.)
So OK, in a medical emergancy I doubt anyone would yell “20ccs of a sonnet, stat!” but I do think that the arts save lives.
(Well of course I’d think that you say, it is in my own self interest and it is, but does that negate my argument?)
At the very least the arts help us to look at the world from others’ perspectives, they challenge our beliefs. Isn’t that necessary for a healthy society?
Last night I had an argument with my father (arguing with my father is a rather pointless exercise because he is always right even though it is patently clear that I am always right 🙂 ) about the Beatles, or rather that the 60’s were the pinnacle of music/rock ‘n roll. I said that after the Beatles that “rock n roll” kind of splintered off into new genres so while the 60’s did indeed produce classic rock n roll good music did not stop being produced. That part of the arts function (rock n roll included) is to push the boundaries. He said “no it’s not”.
Oh I could have argued that the Beatles themselves stretched rock n roll, that their later music is completely different from their early covers of Little Richard; that the music of his beloved Eagles would not have existed if someone hadn’t pushed the boundaries at some stage.
But he said “Britney Spears is shit” and I agreed so that was the end of the argument.