There is but one god on this earth and human beings made it. It isn’t Jesus, Allah or Buddha. The god on this earth is MONEY and it controls you and everything you see, eat and experience. You worship it endlessly and want more and more of it. You can’t live without it. Your very survival depends on your loyalty to it and love for it. People die for it, kill for it and work themselves into the grave for it. People betray those closest to them for it and sacrifice their innocents at the alter of this god, to appease its need to increase itself. It is a rampaging monster of a deity and it can’t give you anything but the transient spoils of a corrupt and dying planet.
Once the hand wringing commences, there is no turning back. Good old fashioned panic can’t be lagging too far behind. I admit I’m not the obsessive compulsive worrier of days gone by but if things don’t improve in the bucks department I may revisit that old haunt ‘fear’. I’ve tried the age old antidote of comparison. To make myself feel lucky for what I have I’ve tried ferreting out the experience of others in more dire circumstances. That sort of rumination can last ten minutes, tops because ultimately it doesn’t solve my dilemma: Money and how to get more of it.
I posted the quote below by poet Benjamin Zephaniah because he so succinctly states the core cause of the ills on this planet. Greed is a scourge but the tempation to equate the value of one’s life experience with paper currency is almost always impossible to resist. It all starts with the clothes we wear straight on through to where we live, what institution of higher learning we attended and concluding with what we do for a living, not based on the job description but instead on the income it provides. This is the crux of my artistic stagnation. I should be writing fluidly but I’m not. I manage to pop out a few phrases (many of them old and tired it agonizes me to say) and go through the motions, but my soul and mind aren’t participating fully. It’s very difficult to engage the senses in something so all encompassing as writing when your heart and head are absorbed in playing a game of economic ping pong with your finances, or shall I say lack thereof. I’ve got an article I want desperately to complete and submit, a short story that needs posting soon and a novel begging me to take it off the platform and put it on the train. Somehow I don’t feel I’m alone in all this. I’ll bet a great many writers and artists are needing to come to terms with this time of hurricane type instability and the questions need to be asked. Do we primarily create for the monetary gain alone or do we do it for the love, the burning desire? To be perfectly honest I write for the latter but the former is getting in the way. Sad really because I can recall a time when writing provided a safe respite from the strife of living but now that I’m growing older it’s beginning to feel frivolous and inimportant. Could it be I’ve been infected with what Benjamin Zephaniah is discussing in his quote? Could it be I’ve lost the ability to see my writing as having intrinsic value before a number is placed on it? If so, I’m getting the stinking suspicion I may have to do some surgery on my attitude and adjust it accordingly. I want to get back to that place inside which came with me at birth. An internal valley where the river of words run fast and free, shaping everything bordering it with the force of it’s rush and fostering life within it’s depths.
Do you equate your work with what someone will pay for it? Is the current economic climate affecting your ability to find a reason to keep working away at project and if so, how do you purge it and free yourself?
Okay, the pig is on a serious diet, my pockets are empty and it’s getting harder and harder to imagine I’m going to make it to publication. Everyday you hear about another newspaper going under in the US and here in Canada it’s not much better. Publishing and the way in which we communicate our ideas is undergoing some serious and painful change. If this is a sort of artistic renaissance by way of economic collapse, then it had better be an amazing period of enlightenment for this writer. Even when the economy is fat and happy, competition for spots in literary magazines is damn stiff. I’ve decided to ride it out by blogging, submitting for clips not cash and pray the day job feeds and shelters us for another year. If the poverty becomes deep and ugly it will be sort of like writing in the sand: Meaningless and washed away by the wave of need. Either way, I’ll keep writing because it’s what I was born to do, paid or not.