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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I Didn’t Ride My Bicycle Today, and I’m Okay With That

Returning readers recall relatively recent reflections recommending rest. After five days of riding my bike almost 90 miles, and knowing I would reach 100 miles last week, this weekend I did very little. My body, my left knee and quadricep muscle in particular, were very grateful. As usual I was having trouble getting myself going. So when a friend offered to come by and help with some errands in his car, I jumped, however gently, at the opportunity. Later, we went for a walk, and it got late. I could have forced myself to go put in some miles on the bicycle, but I did not. And it was glorious. Let me tell you.

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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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Sookie’s Last Ride (Ever!) & Sophie’s Last Ride of 2018 on New Year’s Eve in Austin

Today was my last chance to add to my mileage and extend my goal of bike-riding x number of miles for 2018.  So I took the opportunity of a decently mild Central Texas winter day and did just that.  First, I took Sookie to Performance Bikes, since they’re a Fuji dealer, to see if they could do anything about her cracked frame.  However, they couldn’t, because their parent company is going out of business.  But at least I got yet another confirmation (the fifth?) that she is no longer rideable.  While not unexpected, it reminded me of how much I’ll miss this bike.  After that… Continue reading

4,000 Miles Biked This Year! + 3,000 Miles Total on Sophie the Fairdale

Well, I did it!  I met my revised goal of 4,000 miles, and I did it 28 days early.  I went into statistics a good bit in my recent post, My November Strava Stats; One Month to Go on My 2018 Goals.  But this number is icing on the cake.  (Which I stopped eating this year along with all kinds of processed grains, and it hasn’t mattered one lick for my weight.  That’s for another post.)  Anyway, as a fellow rider who is much stronger (and younger) than A Dude commented that he “loves milestone days.”  They are pretty special.  If the goal involves a number, and you hit or pass it, it’s sort of like a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders.  And if you’re wondering, 4,000 miles is like riding from Austin, Texas to La Paz, Bolivia and then a bit.  Or, from West Glacier, Montana (a place I’ve been), to the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border.  It’s ok, you may allow yourself to be impressed.  I know I am, and I’m the one who did it!  So let’s explore this YOOGE accomplishment a bit.

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Austin Bicyclists’ Funny & Insightful Texts About Biking the Tour Das Hugel (Or Not)

Should I ride Das Hugel?  No.
 

Why shouldn’t I ride Das Hugel?  It’s extremely dangerous. Some of the descents are wickedly fast with winding turns. There’s grooved pavement, traffic, grumpy police, steep grades up that might leave you falling over in your clips, etc. Your doctor would advise against it unless your ticker is in top shape. Your spouse would force you to up your life insurance.

Really?  OK, it’s an unforgettable experience. Gorgeous scenery. And everyone is joined in the camaraderie of pain.

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Finding Inspiration from Local Authors at One Page Salon in Austin, Texas

I’ve written about One Page Salon before, where local authors read from a work in progress.  But after missing one or two in recent months, I biked downtown to be sure I attended tonight.  Once again rewarded by being inspired by fellow writers, having interesting conversations with musicians and other creative people, and in general enjoyed being part of a community of like-minded folks.  Sure, I could write about the election again, but you can read about that elsewhere.  So I’m going to write about writing, and since I rode my bike there, it’s relevant.  Protocol be damned!

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When a Job Gets in the Way of the Work of Writing

“I have one of two choices – stay in the post office and go crazy … or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.

-Chatles Bukowski, from Jay Dougherty, Introduction to Charles Bukowski

The other day I wrote about my take on the perennial struggle that many writers and other creators of art face: how to pay the bills while making their stuff. Well, today, that arm wrestling came into stark relief as I reported for duty at my new, albeit temporary, job. As a result, I’m getting to this blog quite late, later than usual even. Aside from throwing a wrench into my schedule, and reducing my bicycling time, I still did my walking and yoga. But the job had some positive things about it, too. Maybe you’ll relate.

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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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What’s Going On: My Life is Biking, and Biking is My Life

Today I took an intentional rest day off the bike, the first in 21 days. It rained alot, so I got a ride, took the bus, and got another ride. There was a doctor’s visit that was important to figure out an issue that has been affecting my quality of life. There’s my birthday on Thursday; for the last three years I have ridden my bike around one mile per year of life to get free stuff, so I’ll probably do that again. (Gmail me if you live in Austin and are interested in joining for all or part.) I’m spending time on Strava, giving kudos, making comments, letting people on flybys know that I write this blog. I spend a lot of time fundraising for the Mamma Jamma breast cancer ride, which led to another $150 in donations today. I did my yoga and walking as usual, to keep me limber for my riding. I’ve been thinking about the blog advice I got this weekend from a fellow cyclist. There were conversations with people about what’s going on with Bike Austin. (Short answer: transition. Again.) Writing this blog. And book. Etc.

So yeah, there’s a whole lotta biking stuff going on.

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