Inspiration comes in strange ways. For instance, I didn’t know what to write about this week, until I woke up Friday morning and spent a few hours on Youtube watching videos of George Watsky, a poet/rapper that I’m a big fan of. I noticed how a lot of the songs and poems were about carrying on, following your dreams, and being yourself. Eventually that got me thinking about all those articles. I keep seeing on news websites at least once a year, describing how it’s safer to be a doctor or lawyer, or something of that nature rather than a writer, or an actor or a poet, and it makes me sick.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not badmouthing doctors and lawyers, not in the least. Saving lives, curing sickness, defending the innocent and holding the guilty responsible are all tremendously important, as are all other jobs. What I have a problem with is the fact that kids like me get a bad rap because it’s hard to make money in creative industries. I understand that, but I can also tell that the writers of those articles don’t understand us. Those who think this is all about money have obviously never been in our shoes. I started writing in grade school, (by first grade I think) because I had stories to tell, and no patience. As soon as I started, I knew it was my dream. For years I kept writing, and reading, and trying to improve my craft. By high school, I was writing one-act plays and submitting short stories to regional competitions. I listened to music and imagined scenes from my stories to them. I got into the habit of waking up at 6 am just so I could have an hour to myself to think. I used to sit in my grandma’s porch swing because for some reason, the peaceful atmosphere cleared my head, especially at night. This isn’t just a way to make money, and it never was. It’s a dream, an obsession, a passion. We have to do it simply because it’s who we are.
In the immortal words of George Watsky “If I only get fifteen minutes, I’m gonna stay myself, so when that sixteenth minute comes, I won’t hate myself.” Anybody with a dream can understand this, a need to be seen and heard for who they are. The term ‘starving artist’ gets thrown around a lot in society, and it’s true. A lot of artists don’t make a lot of money, and they end up struggling to get by, but if this were about money, then why not just switch jobs? The answer is simple. There are two types of starvation. One is starvation of the body, and the other is a starvation of spirit and passion, and when you have passion, you almost immediately learn a lesson, a maxim even — once you have passion, you don’t let go of it. Money isn’t important. As long as you’re alive, and you have a pen, or brush, or a stool for a stage then you’re okay. It doesn’t matter what people say. They’re wrong and the proof is in your gut.