Artists are basically fucked in America. They work their asses off, often all day and all night, spend heaps of money and thought on their craft and at the end of the month, they still have nothing with which to pay their water bills.
So can they flush their toilets? NOOOO!
One of the offspring in our house is leaning toward being talented in art– and now of course EVERYONE (teachers, etc) are like: “Oooh You are awesome! What a great drawing! You are so talented! How creative!”
This is such bullshit. Why? Because it’s a lie! They are all leading her on!
Meanwhile, the little boy she goes to pre-school with, who is a socially moronic weirdo with complete brainiac parents, can hardly talk. We all know where this is heading. He is going to be an outcast who comforts himself with video and computer games. And thus end up being the one who is “successful,” rolling in the dough some day.
I’ve been visiting scoutiegirl.com alot lately, and I love her blog. She’s got real chutzhpa, and her blog on creativity, mindful spending, and the handmade really capture the essence of a vibrant creative life. She is achieving the balance of artist and success-nerd.
Tara (the author) exudes a fearlessness in her career that I find both captivating and somewhat inhuman. Well, maybe what I mean is she seems to have those qualities to maintain business that escape so many artists.
Artists battle with not only their own personal esteem issues (everyday, everyhour, everymoment?) but also with the American cultural esteem issue– that $$$ is God. Consumer culture saves us all.
The “Bottom Line” Is Called that For a Reason
So when artists — any kind of artist — begin to create, the innate cultural conversation always involves the back-of-the-head whisper:
Who will want to consume this?
What value does my work have?
Can I sell it?
Will I be able to pay my bills?
And, undoubtedly, that cultural whisper changes the shape of their art.
I’ve Got No Adsense, at All
For all the years that I have written this blog, I have kept it ad-free. I signed up for a Google Adsense account a year ago, but never put ads on the pages. I wanted to, but something held me back.
I know about SEO. I’ve understood that the content of my experiential blog doesn’t suit the specified channel of ad sales.
I know that my few “reviews” on this blog are my best-read content. They are also my least favorite pieces to write.
I knew that if I wanted to watch the Adsense ticker go up, I’d have to change what I was doing here.
You can see I have put an ad space on top of the page, but it is empty.
That’s how I feel about tying ad sales to Letters from a Small State. I feel empty. Even though I know I deserve to be paid for my writing.