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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

i'll call her flora

i stopped by zee's 'place' earlier. he says he's going to be a teacher. i suspect he's already a teacher and he's just going about getting the official paperwork. some people just get other people thinking about things, and are good sources of info and suggestions. natural teachers. he seems to be one of those.

despite the current day job doing books for an evil oil company, i've been a violin teacher for most of my adult life, and i don't see any likelihood of that changing for the rest of my working life. it's a rich part of the whole. sometimes it's been the sole thing keeping all the broken pieces together. zee's plans got me thinking about the arts, and making a living in the arts, and attitudes about all facets of art. there's this perception among many people whose passions are not about originality and espression, that these things come easily, and are thus of little value. i've noticed that creativity comes naturally to some, and not to others, but i would never say it comes easily.

those who become skillful in the arts have put uncounted hours into learning to do what they do, just as those who are skillful at more 'practical' things have worked and studied hard to achieve their competence. yet, i've lost count of the number of artists and musicians i've known, who chafe in frustration at the inferrence that because they love what they do, and because this thing that they love, and do so well, is artistic, they shouldn't expect to make a decent living doing it. we should be grateful if someone invites us to do it for them, for free. or maybe for the leftovers of a free dinner, after we've entertained the other diners. there's no recognition that the beauty they're seeing or hearing didn't just take the few hours needed to physically produce it. there were years of study and labor, successes and failures poured into developing the skills that can produce the product so 'effortlessly'. i've never heard it suggested that a lawyer who has passionately practiced law, and become brilliant at it, should be paid peanuts.... or an engineer who has devoted a lifetime to finding the details of how something can be made to work should just be grateful for the opportunity to try.

.... lunch hour is nearly over.... must continue later... then 'll tell you about my friend, the art teacher.... i'll call her flora.


clairesgarden said...

its difficult to make a living doing what you love.
gardening and horses being my choice. thats why I sit behind a desk four days a week then.....ha.
are we grumpy, is it the cold winter getting to us? sure I'm not this grumpy in the summer.

gfid said...

claire - yes, difficult, but some manage to do it. perhaps it is only winter grumps. it's 4:20 and the sun is going down. if the sunsets weren't so beautiful and long lasting here, no one would survive winter.

lindsaylobe said...

That annoying aspect about highly skilled musicians and artists expected to do perform for nix or peanuts applies to lots of other things ; if you are a Lecturer or Professor in Economics or Computer Science expect to be paid handsomely for any private consulting work or speaking engagements. But should your expertise be in Philosophy/ Arts it’s much more likely to be an entirely different matter here in Australia. I know first hand of an example of one I know who is of rare talent and whose research interests include psychoanalysis, religion, spirituality and the arts. He has written a large number of books including e.g. Remaking Men: Jung, Spirituality and Social Change etc …..and is considered a world authority on Jung, so he is constantly being asked to appear on TV, on panels of debate to answer the big metaphysical questions on life itself. But you have already guessed it; at best maybe an offer of reimbursement for travel and accommodation expenses.
Best wishes

gfid said...

lindsay- it's almost as if those sole focus isn't money are expected to manage without it, isn't it....? in a world where that's getting nigh impossible to do.

granny said...

Just picked this up - oh and don't I agree. Few poor publishers (not senior level anyway) lots of poor writers.... 'when are you going to do some REAL work? Growl. Oh and don't I know - please come and talk to us - we live in outer space by the way. And we can't afford to pay you of course - but we might manage your fares. BITE, this time.

Sue said...

I wanted to try to make a living from my art but was persuaded not to by my father, who said art can only be a hobby, not a way to make a living.

I should have tried harder.

But now, it's my own fault. I've blamed him for 20 years... but now, I can only blame myself.

Maybe that's another good resolution for this year,for me to stop procrastinating.

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