The five essential truths of living the artist

  1. NO ONE GIVES A SHIT

Most people show up to work, feel absolutely nothing, do absolutely nothing, and contribute absolutely nothing to anything without the tangible promise of money. That’s how normal people work. The fact that you’ve read this far indicates that you are not one of these people. Sorry about that. I think it might be much easier to be a heedless, thoughtless, careless money-acruer perpetually at the end of someone else’s line constantly saying “no” than to ever stop and think, “Well, what can I actually do?”

By this point you’ve either sneered in disgust and quit reading (poor old you) or you’ve sneered in disgust and kept reading.

Poor old you.

That’s exactly how the majority of people feel when they interact with anyone less fortunate than them in any regard. You, being an artist, are probably largely ignored, largely poor, and struggling to make ends meet, or live in these other peoples’ world, at all.

You might as well save your breath trying to tell anyone about it. The only people who give a shit already know, and are in it with you, so you might as well surround yourself with like-minded people and quit wasting your time on the rest.

2. NO ONE WANTS TO OR WILL HELP YOU

Just. Stop. If you thought earning an advanced degree, working tirelessly at an occupation you’re supposed to do for your whole life or giving up everything you ever loved, damaging your marriage for work, losing your youth and health, somehow entitle you to receiving any kind of assistance from the blokes who cockamamied you into signing away your life and any potential for future income, just. Stop.

The only thing that entitles anyone to anything in normal-people-land is money. If it’s not important enough to you to table everything else and waste your life earning money, the normies are not going to lift a single finger to help keep you in this physical plane. Refer to Bullet 1.

3. MOST PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE A FREAK, THE REST DON’T CARE

Most normies are not going to want to have anything to do with you, because they assume that you, not working a 9-5 job or spending the majority of your time doing as you’re told by someone with a God complex, are here to rob them. The 0.01% of humanity remaining are probably your manager and their sole purpose in life is to make every effort to ensure that you fully and legitimately believe you have no other option than scrubbing toilets for them. Refer to Bullet 2.

4. MOST PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU DO. THE REST THINK THEY KNOW AND ARE READY TO JUDGE YOU FOR IT

Most people are incredibly angry and bitter about how mind-numbingly mundane and stupid their lives are, and how little anything they do will ever matter to anyone. And since misery loves company, the normies will generally do anything to unspecialize special people. They do this with two predominant methods:

They will either pretend to politely pretend that what you do is interesting while really trying to act as if your work is so boring they might die to death right in front of you if you say another word about it…sometimes before you’ve actually said anything.

They will take anything you do and judge your moral character as lacking because you’re creative. And as everyone in Hollywood knows, the only person more likely to be a villain than a smart person who is good at science is a smart person who has an imagination. Normies will take the piss right out of anything you create because they couldn’t create it themselves. Anything creative is different, and different is scary. Besides, the world revolves around the normy brain, and if they couldn’t some up with it, it can’t be worth a shoe of shit, right?

5. NO ONE, INCLUDING FAMILY, FRIENDS, LOVED ONES, CAREGIVERS, WILL EVER UNDERSTAND. NOT EVEN YOUR BEST ENEMY. GET USED TO BEING LONELY.

This is, perhaps, the toughest essential truth living the life artistically. Musician with great compositions, visions of musical masterpieces? Multi-instrumentalist? That must mean you’re good at math, why can’t you go do something with that? Or even better, teach? Brilliant painter, mixed media explorer, house filled with master works, each more refined than the one before? Guh, they take up and awful lot of space, don’t they? Why don’t you just sell them?

A quick Saturday yard sale will do, and if that doesn’t make the trick, there’s always Goodwill.

Even other artists (despite what I may have said in Bullet 1) will only ever understand what you’re going through to a point, for inevitably the entity “friend” has got to end somewhere and “you” have to take over. It’s at that point exactly that even your best artist buddy will no longer be able to understand what is happening, being done, and befalling you.

The best answer to all these conundrums is NOT to find a dead end job somewhere and waste away bussing tables. It’s also not buying into all the self-help bullshit about how you can be a rich asshole through your art if you just imagine the world abundantly. I mean maybe that might work for fantasy writers, because it IS sheer fantasy.

What you’ve got to do is either 1) be OK with being poor your entire life, 2) Be lucky or 3) Find a meaningful occupation that can compromise with your artistic work and springboard your art to a life larger than your own. Writer? get a desk job in publishing, and take names and numbers whenever you can. Actor? Teach public speaking classes. Painter? Find work at a local museum- even if it is scrubbing the toilets. Musician? Work at the local guitar shop (unless you’re a girl. Female musicians should probably just give up and die. You’ll never make it, unless you’re a perky violinist or you can live as being the obligatory pair of tits with a tamborine.)

Try to find something that doesn’t make you pull over to the side of the road to vomit on the way to work everyday, and try to work in what you’re REALLY good at whenever you can. Who knows, maybe you’ll make something brilliant.

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