So what do you want to do with your life?

When people ask this, it’s not for a vague idealistic answer like, I want to help the poor, the sick, the kids, or anything of that sort. They want to know what you plan on doing for money in order to survive. The socially acceptable answer is not supposed to be one that is worse than the state you are currently surviving in. Nothing like a drug addict or a bum will suffice. This is a question that begs an answer of grandiose proportion. President, astronaut, firefighter, are all safe and standard answers.

I had the terrible misfortune of being burdened with an unfortunate affliction that bordered on becoming a curse in a world dictated by material wealth.

When I was asked what I wanted to do with my life, I would respond with great dignity that I wanted to write. When you tell someone you want to be a writer, successful novelists like King or Koontz probably pop into his/her mind. I suppose that was the standard that I too was trying to achieve when I still thought like a child. Few people really think about what it takes to become a writer until it knocks them on their ass a couple of times. You do hear a story or two about overnight success every now and again. Some lady, somewhere –while washing laundry perhaps– has an epiphany. Somehow she whips from reverie an idea for a trilogy of novels. She suddenly decides to try her hand at writing books. She then has the inconceivable serendipity of publishing her book to coincide with the empty production schedule of a major Hollywood studio that is looking to produce a film with the same type of theme as the book this lady just finished. But stories like this are few.

The life of a writer is a tortured one, accompanied by poverty for many of us. We don’t write to make Oprah’s book of the month. We write because it gives us a purpose beyond slaving at a menial position in order to barely get by. We write because it is the only hope we have left to escape this trap. We write because it makes us feel different. It makes us feel like we know some secret that others don’t. We write because the alternative is inconceivable.

We write because we have to.

Human beings deserve so much more than working their whole lives away just to make other people rich. The industrial age has somehow managed to redefine the parameters of slavery. Slave owners of old were responsible for the welfare of their slaves. They had to clothe them. Feed them. Make sure they were healthy enough to work. The slave owners have now switched their titles to corporate heads and bankers. This is the new age of aristocracy. Sustained by sweat shops and factories. Not much has changed since the emancipation except that the slaves now have to take care of themselves. This still benefits the ruling class because they own everything that people have to provide for their families. They pay the proletariat as little as possible and orchestrate a system that perpetually promotes products the workers can’t afford, nor can they live without. So begins the credit debacle. This shackles people with debt. They can’t gamble on things like their dreams anymore.

The media dangles celebrities before us to give us a false sense of hope. We worship star athletes, for when we see them run we see freedom.  Success has convoluted the entire thought process. If our art doesn’t make millions of dollars in revenue then it is not worth expressing and should be abandoned. We can no longer afford to buy into this thinking. We are losing our most original voices in the liberal arts. They are being traded for a repetitive drone that is being mass manufactured and distributed globally.

You are beautiful because you are different; not because you are the same. Don’t ever let anyone convince you that what you have to say isn’t important. The hell with the mainstream. Everyone deserves a space in this world to claim for their self. But hey, I’ve often been accused of being an unrealistic idealist.

Writing is by the individual, for the individual. At least it should be. The metaphysical nature of writing exists to expose the profoundness of being that is found in the world around us. Writing is art. Art is the manipulation of associative symbols that reflect how we interpret the world around us. The first artistic endeavors of the human species concentrated on presentating these symbols in the most primal forms. All of this has little to do with financial success. Do not let money dictate your divine nature. Think of all the great artists that died poor. Think of the great loss the world would’ve suffered if they’d just given up.

Get back to your roots. Live your life for you. And hey, if you wind up living in a cardboard box, at least you were an original spirit as the divine energy intended you to be. I’ll live my life standing for what I believe before I’ll spend the entirety of my existence crawling on my knees for the scraps left by whatever powers may be.

And if people don’t like it; well, at least I will be me instead of pretending to be them.

“The Art we look at is made by only a select few. A small group create, promote, purchase, exhibit and decide the success of Art. Only a few hundred people in the world have any real say. When you go to an Art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires…”  – Banksy

  1. This is a revision of an earlier work titled The American Dream is but a Dream.

  2. Excellent excellent,,,,,well written and expressed………and so true. Thank you Carl for saying what I also believe, Blessings! ~~~~ Angela (blueangelwolf) 🙂

  3. luggagelady says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth — and made them sound sooo much better!! 😉 Thanks for sharing such profound sentiment…

    • Thank you for taking the time out to comment. Artists often say that they don’t care what people think; but the most sensitive people are artists. Kind of makes you wonder about their career choices.

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