There’s a story, possibly apocryphal, about the poet T.S. Eliot.
He was a bank clerk before becoming a renowned poet, and apparently insisted on being a bank teller. His friends and people who’d read his poetry told him he was being ridiculous; he was a poet, he should write poetry, not work at a bank.
But he for some reason insisted–no. He would work in a bank. He even convinced himself he liked working in a bank, that it was important for him to ‘make his own way’ and write poetry on the side.
I get that sentiment, actually. It’s not so much that one thinks ones art isn’t very good; rather, rugged male individualism and the absurd thought that you must first have yourself taken care of through your own means before you try to do something you really want is pretty engrained in the American mind, and Eliot was an American after all.
Anyway, the story goes that Eliot’s friends raised a stipend for him to write so he could quit the bank clerk position, yet even still he refused, insisting that he really, really made a good bank clerk.
So they harassed him, showed up at the bank, and forced him to quit and become a poet instead.
Wanna help force me to quit my social work job? I’ve started a Patreon profile, where people donate small amounts of money monthly to an artist to help them do just that. And if you do, I give you cool things in return (besides gushing with gratitude).
And if I reach $200 of pledges per month, I’ll put in my two-weeks notice to my low-paid, very stressful social work job and go part-time. And I’m frightfully not far from that goal already.
There are higher goals, but that’s the trigger. At $400, I can work 3 days a week, which means four days a week of writing, which means I become more a writer and less a social-worker. And more time to write means I have more time to create stuff that might be paid by others (including editing two fiction manuscripts I’ve written, and finishing my Pagan Anti-Capitalist book, The Spectre & The Whore).
That time also frees me up to make the projects I’m already working on better, including Gods&Radicals. I do all the work for that on my lunch-breaks at work, or late at night after work in my attic.
And either way, you should totally watch the really scary video I made for it.
Thanks, and be always well!
7 thoughts on “A Writer, Not a Worker”
If I wasn’t struggling to keep a roof over my head I’d pledge, because I really enjoyed the book you sent me and the stuff you write for Gods & Radicals. People definitely need to pay you to write.
Reblogged this on Trees in the Train Station and commented:
An elegant way of getting around the fly in the oinment of wanting to devote oneself to more worthwhile pursuits than office work, but still requiring a certain level of income in order to have even a basic ‘modern style’ subsistence living. Having the strength of your convictions in the art your make or the things you write probably helps too, something Rhyd will likely always have an abundnace of.
I would seem to be the first to say but I’m certain I’m not the only one who thinks as much; I’m pretty sure you can count on folks coming together to go beyond the bare minimum that you need.
Time zones and weird work computers make a mockery of me…
I will look at my finances and see what I can do. I wish you all the best either way .
Congratulations on having the guts to do this. I see you’re nearly up to $200 already and getting very close to going part time with your social work. I really hope you get the support you need. You deserve it 🙂 I’m particularly looking forward to ‘The Spectre and the Whore’.