Sunday, November 14, 2004

Art Cop

Edited at 3:20 pm to clarify

I said I wouldn't play Publishing Cop anymore, and I won't.* Today I'm going to be Art Cop, because I'm tired of reading about writers who think killing themselves is the answer to depression and/or failure.

A lot of people see artists as super-educated, sensitive souls who endure exquisite torture for the good of a squabbling, ungrateful proletariat which should pay attention but doesn't. This literati view is universally accepted and considered quite noble, enlightening, and artistic.

This is also a truckload of horseshit.

If you want to create great art, I'm all for it. I love great art. If you're a tortured artist, please, by all means, stick yourself in a garret and create. Only hang on to your day job, because if you try to make a living at selling your great art, you'll probably starve (best case scenario) or end up cleaning out your sinus with a bullet (worst case.)

If you're an artistic writer who wants to make a living selling your art, then you should know, going in: Publishers are going to use your tears to make their martinis.

I know how hard it is to accept that. I was a poet long before I was a writer. I actually went through all this artistic angst back in high school, when I thought it would be wonderful to die for your art. And despite the fact that I've grown up to be a cold-blooded mercenary bitch who will write anything as long as you give me a nice big check, I won't seek publication for the bulk of the poetry that I write. That's because writing novels is my job. Writing poetry is my art.

Just check all the trunks in the attic after I'm dead, okay?

*This applies to more than just the publishing industry.

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