Making art is work; when people pay me for my work, that helps me to eat and keep a roof over my head, which allows me to keep making art. Work/get paid/purchase sustenance is a very real and pressing economic reality for me and many other artists I know. I'm never sure why we're expected to be embarrassed about it when other people who do work are not. When a plumber fixes your toilet, you don't tell her that you shouldn't have to pay her because she should be working for some--putatively more noble--purpose.
I particularly like the plumber-fixes-toilet invocation. It's appropriately Harlan Ellisonian in tone. To wit, an excerpt from my interview with Ellison (soon to be republished with all-new, value-added material in Voices of Vision):
Because I've done 70 books, people go, "God, you're so prolific." And I say, "What do you mean prolific? I've been doing it for 42 years, and I've done 70 books. That's what I do. It's a full time job. If I were a plumber, and I had unclogged 10,000 toilets, would you say to me 'You're a prolific plumber?'"
Unless you're Stephen King or Tom Clancy, choosing writing as a career path isn't going to make you rich. Believe me, I speak from the experience of supporting myself and my family through my writing for the past dozen years or so. Plumbers, though, I hear do quite well for themselves.
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