Commerce and Creativity: The Struggle is Real

Arriving home, I caught a new article on Wired, “Jack Conte, Patreon, and the Plight of the Creative Class.” Earlier this year, I heard Jack’s talk at South by Southwest, a sort of origin story cum sales pitch. Many of us would love to get paid for blogging, and I’d love to get paid for editing and publishing my book in progress. Yet the struggle between having to work a job and pay the bills is one that’s been going on for a long time. Ever since the first caveperson started drawing on the walls instead of hunting, I would imagine. How to be creative in whatever your endeavor(s) may be keep a roof over your head and food on the table is an ongoing issue. Spoiler alert: I won’t solve it here today. But maybe you’ll relate to some of my thoughts and have some comments.

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Mmm… A Melange of Musings on Monday

Sometimes there’s no one theme that presents itself for a post.  Instead, a mixture of many motifs manifests.  (Alliteration apparently attracts A Dude. )  I’ve noticed myself thinking about three main topics:   1) creativity, especially the art of writing, and the necessity of commerce; 2) all the bicycling I do (and to a lesser extent, walking and yoga), and 3) issues about nutrition and health.  Of course I also consider weightier things like the temporary end of the federal government shutdown, the sad passing of a former neighbor, and the goings on in the lives of friends, family and my town.  So I’m gonna touch on the three themes, and perhaps we’ll stumble upon some insight or wisdom useful to you.  But sometimes, a blog is just a web log of what’s going on, and its not going to change your life.  To quote the farmer in the movie Babe, “That’ll do, pig.  That’ll do. Continue reading

Thoughts on Melissa McCarthy’s Movie About a Writer’s Struggle to Succeed

It’s the opposite of my last post about being inspired by creative people. The recent Melissa McCarthy movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?” paints a bleak picture of a lonely, struggling writer who turns to forgery to pay her bills.  McCarthy was nominated for a Golden Globe for her moving portrayal of one author’s quest for respect and success.  It’s difficult to write about a movie without spoilers, but I’ll try.  This isn’t a review so much as some thoughts about the difficulties for writers to be creative and stay true to their vision while dealing with the realities of commerce.  This is a theme I often struggle with as I continue to blog and write my book without any compensation in sight.  A review in Town and Country was titled Can You Ever Forgive Me Is the Funny-Smart-Sad Crime Caper You’ve Been Waiting For”  .  By the way, it’s based on a true story.

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Biking to Work and Working to Bike: A Broke Blogger’s Struggle with Art v. Commerce

Today I had the pleasure to make the virtual acquaintance of former Austinite, now Denver-area, soon to be Pittsburghian writer Lauren Modery. Her blog is Hipstercrite, and her latest post To Geoffrey Owens —Thank You on Behalf of Working Class Artists. It draws on the experience of former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens, who was shamed, then praised, for having a “day job.”

Geoffrey Owens
Geoffrey Owens

What does any of that have to do with bicycles? Well, everything and nothing. Readers of this blog know that I can and have linked a bicycle to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and actor/director Tate Donovan, to chocolate, and to racism. (I’m still not sure but I’m really, REALLY hoping that it’s not racist to use the words chocolate and racism in the same sentence.)

The fact is, that work is for most people not in the 1% (like future ex-US President Tinyhands Orangehead), an inevitable part of life. A Dude is no exception. For almost a year, his work has been this blog and a book in progress, biking his ass off (though it’s still there), daily walking and yoga-ing, volunteering, among other things. But today, he rinally had to join the working class again and get the dreaded J-O-B. He rode there on his bike, of course.

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