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Author: jeanpaulsartre Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5806  
Subject: being and becoming Date: 11/14/2002 6:39 PM
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Hello. I haven't been to this board before. To arrive here, I followed a link from the site's email that features certain posts.

The idea of "the fast lane", and jumping careers for something more closer to the bone is what intrigues me with this place at the moment.

~~~

I've been a writer since I was nineteen. I'm forty-five now. I don't consider myself retired, but I also haven't worked for any wages in about a year-and-a-half. I may return to "work" soon, but then again I've said that before.

In my adult life, I've probably worked for some kind of wages in roughly half of it. The rest of the time, I've been writing. And often, when I've been writing, I've also been earning through writing. But these various relationships, how I get money from what, have been entirely unimportant to the practice of my vocation.

Whatever happens in the immediate future, I'll be out of the "fast lane", if "fast lane" implies profession, or, even more dreadfully, career. For me, there's quite a difference between a profession, even a career, and a vocation. I've had different professions over the years (never a "career" though), but they have all merely served the one and only vocation I have.

~~~

One thing I have to say on reading some recent threads here: this idea that it is hard to make a good living writing, or fretfully difficult to become a professional artist/writer/musician, is nuts. It is a reinforcement of a pervasive narrow point of view regarding the noncredentialed professional's place in our culture. Becoming any of these professionally is no harder than becoming anything else; the only difference is that there is specific societal formula for becoming one.

If you want money as a writer or artist or musician--if you want to be a professional artist of some kind--you will cold call, market, apply, and sell your work, as certainly as you would sell pajamas or insurance if you were a pajamas or insurance salesperson. On any given night in the city in which I live, there are 5,000 musicians performing, two hundred plays being performed, a dozen screenplays being greenlit, two thousand freelance articles accepted, and 1,000 artists on display in galleries alone, not to mention the thousands of writers and musicans on payrolls, and thousands of commercial artists putting their unique wares out to firms that can dependably use them. There is much more room in Los Angeles for another writer than there is for another attorney; there is far more pressing a need for another good artist here at the moment than there is for another good accountant.

To do any of these things professionally, you simply put out your product, get in line, and take your turn. There is not much luck, only work, that stands in the way of becoming an artist, writer, musician. It is not truthful to say that people "dream" of these careers, and, trying, get fearful when they see how "hard" they are, or how much "luck" they require; the truth is that, when trying, people become fearful of cutting loose from family and friends' narrow, suffocating, uncultured expectations for them. They are worried about what mom or sis or James or Joanie will think if they don't "succeed" in a matter of short weeks. Fearing what others will think about what might happen over the next few months if income is not fully flush, they are willing to ditch their vocation entirely, and follow some narrow, suffocating career arc from point to point to point, navigating a proscribed path that was never even really their own, but which once offered the illusion of steadiness and security, until they die.

~~~

Once a writer or an artist or a musician becomes fearless enough to shrug off all the familial and societal pressures telling her she's "dreaming", or she needs to be "lucky", and owns up to accepting her own true vocation, she is a writer/artist/musician--and, what's more, realizes even that she has been, all along. There is not even any confirming moment, any sudden transformation. The relationship to money and to the pressures of others has, is, and always will be parenthetical. The professional side of her pursuit is not the defining side of it, it is simply one element of it.

Optimally, you do not even "think" about "becoming" a writer at all (nor artist, nor musician)--it would be like "thinking" about having "become" left-handed, or having "become" Chinese. You simply discover that you are one of these--and when you do, you are best served to shut out the suspicious world as soon as possible, make your stuff, stake your claims, and peddle as you see fit.

jeanpaulsartre
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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 925 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/14/2002 9:09 PM
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What an absolutely INSPIRING post!! It's easy to see why you're a successful writer. Not only do you have the talent to write but you have the necessary mindset to succeed at it as well. Talk about the glass half full!--yours is overflowing.

My son wants to be a professional musician. I shall send your wonderful post to him to ponder...to instruct...to guide.

Thank you.



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Author: DuckInMyShorts Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 926 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 12:08 AM
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Not only have I rec'd it, I also emailed your post to the POD folks directly.

Love it, love it, love it.

Now if I can only get off my own duff and follow through!


Duck!


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Author: AngryPuppy Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 927 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 2:58 AM
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Yes, it truly is a nice post!! One can immediatly sense that you have a tremendous skill in writing, leaving us hackers in the dust.



Optimally, you do not even "think" about "becoming" a writer at all (nor artist, nor musician)--it would be like "thinking" about having "become" left-handed, or having "become" Chinese. You simply discover that you are one of these--and when you do, you are best served to shut out the suspicious world as soon as possible, make your stuff, stake your claims, and peddle as you see fit.


When you say you became a writer at nineteen, was this some type of epiphany? Or did someone say, "Gee, you really can write! You should be a writer!". I became an engineer, not because I truly liked electrons, but because my mom made the suggestion that if I want to eat, engineering may be my only shot.

I have dreamed, and frankly still do, of being a writer, capturing human emotion in some kind of wild eyed yarn. If I had natural talent, I would simply be a writer by default? Would the passion would drive me to my destiny?

However, I have not dedicated the effort that would be required to attain this. Therefore, I must inist my dream is nothing but bullshit, since I have not chased it. I think maybe a lot of people would like to be artists, musicians, or writers but don't because it truly doesn't burn a hole in them.

Ironically, the only class in college, including all my engineering courses, in which I earned an A was in creative writing :)

I've got to get some sleep!

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Author: ChocoKitty Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 928 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 8:34 AM
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My son wants to be a professional musician. I shall send your wonderful post to him to ponder...to instruct...to guide.

CCoy, kudos to you for respecting and supporting your son's dreams of being a musician. Not many parents seem willing to do that!

CK

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 929 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 9:26 AM
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CCoy, kudos to you for respecting and supporting your son's dreams of being a musician. Not many parents seem willing to do that!

Not without trepidation, CK! He wants to be a concert marimbist, of all things! But after reading jeanpaulsartre's post, I realize I can do nothing else! AND I have a better understanding of how to do that. So thanks again, jeanpaulsartre. Maybe JPS will write more about this as I think we're all interested in how to "be" what we truly want to be.


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Author: ricebowlsoup Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 930 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 10:06 AM
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For some, the fear of finding out there is no real talent...just a dream is too much to face so it's kept in the realm of wishes and dreams, sad as those dream are.



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Author: michaelangela Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 932 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 10:48 AM
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...I'll be out of the "fast lane", if "fast lane" implies profession, or, even more dreadfully, career. For me, there's quite a difference between a profession, even a career, and a vocation. I've had different professions over the years (never a "career" though), but they have all merely served the one and only vocation I have.


It's from memory, so I may have a word or two wrong, but please consider the following from Robert Frost:

Yield who will to their separation;
My object in life is to unite
My vocation with my avocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.


You, JPS, have done this! Congratulations on successfully avoiding the "fast lane" altogether. Those of us who got caught up in it and now want to escape appreciate your insight.

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Author: Thurst Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 933 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 1:25 PM
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CC,

It's wonderful that you enjoy your work and will support your musician son indefinitely...

I wish him great success!

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 934 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 1:54 PM
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It's wonderful that you enjoy your work and will support your musician son indefinitely...

Well, now you're makin' me nervous. ;-) Hopefully, eventually, he'll be self-supporting.





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Author: Thurst Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 935 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 2:13 PM
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So long as there's no hurry and you are enjoying your life, who's to judge.

It's a dilemma to balance between giving and encouraging self-sufficiency. I have artist type kids of my own (who are out on their own). I was one myself.

It's good to have more than enough to make the choice.

Here's to LBYM!

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Author: Hyperborea Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 936 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 2:17 PM
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It's wonderful that you enjoy your work and will support your musician son indefinitely...

-----------------
Well, now you're makin' me nervous. ;-) Hopefully, eventually, he'll be self-supporting.


Reminds me of the well-known musician joke.

Q. What do you call a musician without a girlfriend?
A. Homeless.

Hyperborea

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 937 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 3:44 PM
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Q. What do you call a musician without a girlfriend?
A. Homeless.


Hmmm...I've heard of lots of musicians who live in palatial homes and have quite the life. Out here in LA, there are quite a few of 'em. They must be living that "glass half full" concept.

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Author: Hyperborea Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 938 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 4:20 PM
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Hmmm...I've heard of lots of musicians who live in palatial homes and have quite the life. Out here in LA, there are quite a few of 'em. They must be living that "glass half full" concept.

<patronizing tone>Suuuure..., everyone can be a rich successful musician just by imagining their "glass" to be filled differently.</patronizing tone>

In reality, as opposed to CCoy's self-help book wishing on a star fantasy land, very few make a reasonable living from their music and then mostly as session musicians. Plenty of absolutely brilliant muscial geniuses have died penniless. Lots more exist in the middle working day jobs to keep eating while still playing nights. Have a chat with some real working musicians sometime and get an idea of what reality is.

It's fine to jump off the edge of the cliff and hope you make a safe landing when you're 20 years old and have time to recover. If you try the same thing later in life you may find that you're left retiring to tins of cat food on toast.

Hyperborea

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 939 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 4:49 PM
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Have a chat with some real working musicians sometime and get an idea of what reality is.

My son is a music major; I quite naturally have an intense interest in his future. He and I have "chatted" extensively with musicians of every rank--from elementary school music teachers to Los Angeles Philharmonic marimbists, music arrangers and band groupies. Recently we chatted with the personal assistant to Mick Fleetwood and got some insight there. Yup, chattin' here 'n there...essential to some of the activities that JPS described: "you will cold call, market, apply, and sell your work, as certainly as you would sell pajamas or insurance if you were a pajamas or insurance salesperson."

I believe in following your bliss, and I don't believe you have to eat cat food to do it. Now I gotta stop reading your posts, cuz you're bringin' me down, man. Sheesh.


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Author: intercst Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 940 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/15/2002 9:45 PM
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The idea of drifting in and out of "work for wages" employment as economic needs dictate is an old one.

I only note that that lifestyle is a lot less stressful if you enter the arrangement with a portfolio large enough to eliminate the economic pressure to the the "work" part. <grin>

intercst

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Author: foolkath Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 942 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/16/2002 11:44 AM
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Maybe, Angry Puppy, you did not shut out the suspicious world soon enough. Your dream may have been squashed with too many discouragements.

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Author: foolkath Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 943 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/16/2002 11:47 AM
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I think talents can be developed. One must have a real passion and devote a lot of time and effort into it. "Fake it till you make it" with a lot of work and dedication. It must come first before all else.

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Author: foolkath Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 944 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/16/2002 11:54 AM
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Hyperborea,

As much as I love thinking like CC I have to agree with you. At my age dancing is absolutly wonderful for an all time consuming passion/hobby. But to provide for my two kids right now, I need to put in my hrs where I am given that weekly paycheck.

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Author: ricebowlsoup Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 945 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/16/2002 12:13 PM
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folkarth,

well said, thanks...was feeling bad about being such a spirit squelcher.



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Author: AngryPuppy Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 961 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/18/2002 1:06 PM
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Maybe, Angry Puppy, you did not shut out the suspicious world soon enough. Your dream may have been squashed with too many discouragements.

I suppose your right, but, at the time, I was lucky to be able to even go to college and did not put a lot of thought into what I really wanted to "be".

I suppose I can still be whatever I want: writer, piano player, artist and do it part-time. All is not lost, I'm not dead yet :)

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 962 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 11/18/2002 1:18 PM
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All is not lost, I'm not dead yet :)

This seemingly small thought is so critical to our happiness, IMO. I remember saying, at age 28, to a friend, "I should've gone to law school but it's too late now. In four years, I'll be 32." She said, "Whether you do or you don't go to law school, you'll be 32 four years from now." Duh.

I think one ought to at least try to do the things one really wants to do, health permitting, until the very end. :-)

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Author: MsPoppy Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1116 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/19/2002 7:17 PM
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My son is a music major; I quite naturally have an intense interest in his future. He and I have "chatted" extensively with musicians of every rank--from elementary school music teachers to Los Angeles Philharmonic marimbists, music arrangers and band groupies. Recently we chatted with the personal assistant to Mick Fleetwood and got some insight there. Yup, chattin' here 'n there...essential to some of the activities that JPS described: "you will cold call, market, apply, and sell your work, as certainly as you would sell pajamas or insurance if you were a pajamas or insurance salesperson."

I believe in following your bliss, and I don't believe you have to eat cat food to do it. Now I gotta stop reading your posts, cuz you're bringin' me down, man. Sheesh.


This was an old post, but I just found it so......

I was a music major. Started studying music at age 3, started serious study at age 7 at a local conservatory (several hours after school and on weekends). I have medals, certificates, newspaper clippings, copyrights, and other various minutae that would indicate that I had a chance at being a professional and perhaps even successful musician. I had a manager. A good one who's represented Grammy award winning musicians. Yet....

I work in finance now and have a fairly successful career there. Yes, follow your bliss. I agree. But you cannot even begin to fathom how exhausting it is to follow this particular bliss. When I was studying in NY after school (while working full time to support myself) I would literally cry myself to sleep because I was so tired. Pursuing music means having two full time jobs all the time. Forget a social life.

I wish your son the best of luck, I'll send him my now unemployed music angels, but a back up plan isn't a bad idea. Not because he isn't good enough, but because he could very well burn out.

-Poppy

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1117 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/19/2002 11:22 PM
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Pursuing music means having two full time jobs all the time.

You mean all those people who play for the Los Angeles Philharmonic have other jobs, too?!

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Author: LongHook Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1118 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 12:15 AM
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You mean all those people who play for the Los Angeles Philharmonic have other jobs, too?!

No. But then again, most of the actors in Hollywood NOT starring in a major motion picture probably do.

-Hook


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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1119 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 12:23 AM
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But then again, most of the actors in Hollywood NOT starring in a major motion picture probably do.

Do you mean to say that you equate a livelihood in the performing arts as quixotic as acting?

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Author: LongHook Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1120 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 1:14 AM
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Do you mean to say that you equate a livelihood in the performing arts as quixotic as acting?

If you're earning a living, it's not quixotic. The problem is when you're not earning a living doing what it is you feel you were born to do.

This is an incredibly difficult situation, because in reality some people simply are not talented at what they feel they're born to do, yet they persist in their dreams. But how can you tell these people apart?

More importantly, if you're one such person, it's nigh near impossible to balance objective self-awareness of your own talent versus the blaze ahead overconfidence often necessary to weather times of adverisity. At the one spectrum you have those that feel they'll never be good at anything and don't even try, and on the other end you have those that feel they're much better than they are, and they'll keep trying until they're dead, even if they're miserable.

Dan Simmons tells a wonderful story about how he was discovered at a writer's workshop by, I believe, Philip Dick. At this workshop he presented his very first story, The River Styx Runs Upstream (absolutely mind blowing story). The point of the story was how he was discovered, but there was a depressing but illuminating sidebar to it all. At these workshops, everyone reads everyone else's stories anonymously (i.e. I believe the works are unattributed).

While going over the stories, Dick grabs one and asks "Who wrote this?" and some older guy stands up. Dick then basically says something like "This is complete crap, you have no talent, and I'm telling you right now, you don't have it in you -- find something else to do. Is this your first time writing?" And the writer responds with something like "No sir, I've written a dozen books and a hundred fifty short stories, but I've never been published". Then he walks out.

Ouch.

Everyone who believes in themselves and goes after their dream is faced with a moment where they ask themselves "Am I that guy who wrote a dozen books that were never published?"

I have a friend almost exactly like that. He's been writing fiction for about 20 years, and he has never, ever been published. In fact, I don't think he's ever had a personalized rejection slip (personalized rejection slips are about as encouraging as you can get with rejection).

First he submitted to everyone, then a few, then decided on trying to self publish, now he's trying to find an agent. But his work, apparently, simply isn't very good (or, at least, marketable).

But he won't give up.

Now, on the one hand, you want to cheer him on -- "You go! Keep the faith, dare to dream!" I mean, most people would crumble with that much resistance.

On the other hand, you want to say "Look, you've given it a fair shot, you need to find something else". His pat reply is "I have nothing else. I'm a failed writer or a successful writer, I have no other career choices." To which you just have to shrug and move on.

But as a friend it's tough, because he goes through strong phases where he's positive he's about to be discovered and brags about his portfolio of books (he's written several books and numerous short stories, but none published), then turns around and mopes for weeks on end that he wasted life pursuing something that he sucks at.

Anyway, not sure where I'm going with this, but I guess my point is that the glib, naive belief that you should just pursue your dream isn't practical in the real world. It works great if you're successful and/or lucky. It works pretty poorly if you have a family you're support and you suddenly decide you're going to be a musician, even if you all have to live in a U-Haul.

I'm pursuing my dream right now, but there isn't a day that goes by where I don't ask myself, "How many failures will it take before I accept this isn't what I'm meant to do?" For some people, they can NEVER accept this, because it's tantamount to identity suicide. But lose confidence too soon, and then you wonder if you hadn't just tried a little longer, maybe it would have pulled through.

Pursuing your dream rationally is seriously a royal pain in the ass.

-Hook


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Author: ChocoKitty Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1121 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 8:29 AM
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Your post made me think about my friends from my music camp days. I met up with my high school music camp sweetheart when we were both juniors in college, and he was studying to be a computer tech along with his music degree. What was depressing was that he said that even though he still practiced 5+ hours a day, he was dreading graduation because the music was feeling more like a job and less like his life's passion. He was a *fabulous* musician, but it made me so sad to see him burned out like that.

I almost became a music major until I was told the odds for an orchestral job by my teachers: in any given year, there are only one orchestra's worth of openings, maybe less. That means that if you play flute, for instance, there are four orchestra spots open a year. You just keep waiting until someone retires or dies. No thanks.

Do I know whether I took the right path? I don't know. I DO know, however, that if I had pursued music, it would have been less easy to pursue my current (and lifelong) passion in writing. And having food on the table and a roof over my head from my "day job" makes it much easier to write whatever the heck I want, without worrying too much if someone wants to publish it or not.

Ah well, I think there was a point there somewhere.....

CK

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Author: michaelangela Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1122 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 10:58 AM
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I am a carpenter. I am also a writer. I am a chef, and my wife is a sous-chef. I am also an architectural designer and an engineer. Finally, I am a socio-political analyst & commentator.

Here's a question: what do Tom Clancy (the world famous novelist) & Dennis Connor (the multiple America's Cup winner) have in common?
Answer: they both sold insurance during the day (well into middle age) until their current careers became self-sustaining.

OK, so during the day I'm responsible for a North American business unit of a major global company. And, yes, I wrote that first paragraph to be provocative. My point is that all these endeavors (including the one I do M-F 9-5) are enriching and bring me fulfillment. They are all major parts of who/what I am. I don't know if I would be happy doing any single one of them "full-time".

What I'm fortunate to not require, however, is loads of recognition/acknowledgement/rewards from others in order to feel that I'm doing meaningful work in these fields. Boy would I be in trouble otherwise!

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1123 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 1:11 PM
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What I'm fortunate to not require, however, is loads of recognition/acknowledgement/rewards from others in order to feel that I'm doing meaningful work in these fields. Boy would I be in trouble otherwise!

michaelangela, your view reflects a growing trend toward setting up "multiple streams of income" so as to be able to pursue one's dreams.

Thanks, as always, for your unique and balanced perspective. For a minute there I was having an anxiety attack about my son's pursuit of his dreams. Now I have some ideas about how I can talk to him about balancing his dreams with reality.



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Author: ChocoKitty Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1124 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 1:17 PM
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Multiple streams of income is always a good idea. After all, your son probably has multiple skills outside of music, right? (he sounds like a bright, talented fellow -- I just love the marimba too).

It's kinda like investing: you wouldn't want to invest everything in just one stock. Why would you want to invest your entire future and self-worth on just one job?

CK

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1125 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 1:29 PM
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Why would you want to invest your entire future and self-worth on just one job?

Bingo, Choco-Kitty! We're closing today on the first of my son's real estate investments. hehehe I think he's pretty enthusiastic about this endeavor, too, in which I believe I can be a big support. (Don't know too much about music, except that I enjoy it.)



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Author: LongHook Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1126 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 1:35 PM
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I have some ideas about how I can talk to him about balancing his dreams with reality.

For many people that's the ideal approach. I didn't pursue my own dream until I was financially secure enough that it didn't feel like I was making a huge, mind boggling risk for myself and my family.

Unfortunately, some people take that approach as cheating or not being committed.

Dreamers come in all forms. The "practical dreamers", like myself, are willing to make sacrifices or delay action until the timing is right -- but go too overboard, and you find that your window of opportunity has passed (I have friends in their 40s who suddenly regret not having had children in their 30s, because they "didn't have the time" -- sometimes you have to MAKE time).

But then there are the "single minded dreamers" -- the ones that sell all their stuff, pack their bags, and move to Hollywood. Do or die, sink or swim, that's it. Anything less is perceived as not being serious about their goals.

Oh, and there's one more classification -- the "I'm lazy, but I call it a dream" types. That describes me in college =) Basically I had a dream of being [insert random thing], but instead of pursuing that dream, I used it as an excuse not to do real work.

"Dude, get a JOB!"
"No way, that's not part of my life's dream, I really want to be a [insert random thing] and I'm not going to let anything deter me!"

Except, maybe, SportsCenter.

Anyway, best of luck, just keep in mind that some just want to pursue their dream no matter what.

-Hook



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Author: MsPoppy Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1127 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 2:00 PM
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Pursuing music means having two full time jobs all the time.

You mean all those people who play for the Los Angeles Philharmonic have other jobs, too?!


Note I said "pursuing". Catherine, you can be so tiresome. I've been through it. All of my friends from conservatory have been through it. You claim to want insight and when you actually get some from someone who has actually experienced it, you return favor with a snide comment.

Your son will someday know exactly what I'm talking about. I suspect, however, that you will never comprehend it.



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Author: MsPoppy Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1128 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 2:07 PM
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Do you mean to say that you equate a livelihood in the performing arts as quixotic as acting

Acting is performing arts.

If you think that a spot in an orchestra in a major city is any easier to get than a role in a film, you are absolutely kidding yourself.

I can understand you not wanting anyone to discourage your child from pursuing his dream, and he absolutely should pursue it, but you seem to be under the impression that he will graduate with his music degree and move immediately into a career as a musician. It almost never happens. A friend of mine from school who is now a choral member of SFO waited tables for five years before she could even get the audition. This is a woman who won the annual Pavarotti competition, by the way.

Be intractable if you must, but you will someday understand exactly what I am talking about it, whether you ever admit it to yourself or not. It will likely be better for your kid to have a mother who has reasonable expectations of his career trajectory.




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Author: MsPoppy Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1129 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 2:12 PM
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I almost became a music major until I was told the odds for an orchestral job by my teachers: in any given year, there are only one orchestra's worth of openings, maybe less. That means that if you play flute, for instance, there are four orchestra spots open a year. You just keep waiting until someone retires or dies. No thanks.

You know that story about medical school students and how on the first day they're told to look to the people on their left and right with the knowledge that only one of the three will graduate? My freshman year, there were 22 of us in my chosen discipline. Only 3 of us graduated (myself being one of them). Most were weeded out in the first two years, but some hung on until their final recitals, after which they were told that they hadn't performed well enough to get the degree.

I thought that was brutal, and it was, but it was nothing compared to the post-graduation experiences. I don't regret having done it and I've learned plenty, but having been through it, I know exactly how ungodly hard it is.

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1130 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 2:22 PM
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Catherine, you can be so tiresome.

Well, for cryin' out loud, I don't know what emoticon I could've used to express a sincere question. I have no idea how much musicians get paid. Maybe they DO have second jobs...maybe they tutor...maybe they work in a music store...maybe they work in a musical instrument factory...maybe this...maybe that.

One of my son's teachers writes music and is a successful sheet music publisher. Maybe that constitutes the majority of his income. How the hell do I know?

Sheesh.


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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1131 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 2:31 PM
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Be intractable if you must ...

Hmmm...I can't really tell if I'm being intractable or you're expressing frustration at your own hard road. Your perception is your perception.

Based on the feedback here, I realize it IS a hard road...but I'm trying to get a handle on HOW hard. Can someone make a decent living as a studio musician, for example? Then that sounds like a cool thing. Or are they just mediocre-paid support staff, if you will?

I just did a loan for a guy who writes background music for industrial films, of all things, and he does pretty well for himself.

My son, of course, has a rose-colored glasses view of it because he doesn't know any better. He's met with uncommon success in everything he's ever done, so you can't tell him much.

Thanks for the continuing feedback.


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Author: MsPoppy Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1132 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 3:00 PM
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I realize it IS a hard road...but I'm trying to get a handle on HOW hard. Can someone make a decent living as a studio musician, for example?

Yes, one can make a decent living as a studio musician. It's extremely competitive though, because one has to have the experience in one's chosen instrument as well as a very good reputation in order to be called. There is also a tremendous amount of politics involved. Young musicians rarely get those gigs because there are more seasoned performers who have proven track records.

Orchestra spots are tough because they rarely open up. Once you're in, you're in, barring a better gig or an injury.

Teaching on the side helps. I did that. Also pretty cometitive, if you're dealing with aspiring professional students. Teaching kids is good.

I did a lot of weddings, etc. As a percussionist, your son probably won't go that route.

Your son has as good a shot as anyone and he should go for it. But better to know how hard it is going into it. If he's emotionally prepared, he'll be better able to weather the storm, so to speak. As for me, I gave up willingly and with no bitterness. That was my choice and I don't regret it. I think it may have been easier on me, though, had I been prepared for how it was going to be. School focuses on training you in the music, not the business. It's a rude awakening. Just trying to make it a little less rude.


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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1133 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 3:31 PM
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Your son has as good a shot as anyone and he should go for it.

That's what I'm thinking. As The Great One [Wayne Gretzky] said, "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Thanks for all the great insights. What a great board!


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Author: LongHook Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1134 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/20/2002 4:19 PM
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That's what I'm thinking. As The Great One [Wayne Gretzky] said, "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Or as Nick the Bartender said from Parker Lewis Can't Lose: "If you ask her out, she may not go to the dance with you. If you don't ask her out, she definitely won't".

And I think someone else (Churchill, Clemens, can't remember) said something like "It's better to regret that which you have done than that which you have not".

The last thing I plan on doing is looking back on my life and wondering why the hell I didn't go after some of the things I really wanted to do.

-Hook


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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1139 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/22/2002 9:06 PM
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<<I work in finance now and have a fairly successful career there. Yes, follow your bliss. I agree. But you cannot even begin to fathom how exhausting it is to follow this particular bliss. When I was studying in NY after school (while working full time to support myself) I would literally cry myself to sleep because I was so tired. Pursuing music means having two full time jobs all the time. Forget a social life.

I wish your son the best of luck, I'll send him my now unemployed music angels, but a back up plan isn't a bad idea. Not because he isn't good enough, but because he could very well burn out.

-Poppy
>>


I encountered a guy who had spent his 20s and 30s as a professional musician. Never making a great deal of money, but following his bliss. In his 40s, he was contemplating entering an appreticeship program as a plumber, and was questioning me about working in the trades.

Too much "following your bliss" may lead you into blind alleys. I value prudence and good judgement more than following your bliss.



We all make our choices. Think about the consequences of the choices you are making, because you may wind up living with them.




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: michaelangela Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1140 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/23/2002 12:15 PM
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We all make our choices. Think about the consequences of the choices you are making, because you may wind up living with them.

I'll go one step further: you will most certainly wind-up living with the consequences of the choices you make! As ye sow, so shall ye reap! Everything one chooses means, correspondingly, not choosing the alternatives.

But this is not bad; this is life. This is how we learn and grow. Plus...we get bunches of chances to try again. I've watched lots of people try lots of different "paths" to "success". Somehow, if they're sincere and hard-working, they all wind-up OK. Not the same, but OK.

By and large, I think most people "reap" pretty much in accordance/proportion with what they've "sown".

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Author: zsimpson Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1144 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/24/2002 11:50 AM
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Do you mean to say that you equate a livelihood in the performing arts as quixotic as acting?

Yes.

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1145 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/24/2002 12:18 PM
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Do you mean to say that you equate a livelihood in the performing arts as quixotic as acting?

Yes.

Hmmm...I see (from my vantage point) the members of a symphony as anything but quixotic. But what do I know?

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Author: zsimpson Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1151 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/24/2002 11:46 PM
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Hmmm...I see (from my vantage point) the members of a symphony as anything but quixotic. But what do I know?

Do you mean the vantage point of a very loving mom?

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1152 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/25/2002 4:55 AM
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Do you mean the vantage point of a very loving mom?

LOL...yes!...but from the audience, too. The performers seem staid and conservative, just playing their instruments, not prone to bouts of quiet desperation, wondering where their next job is coming from. Is it extremely difficult to get a job like that?

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Author: zsimpson Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1153 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 12/25/2002 10:34 AM
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LOL...yes!...but from the audience, too. The performers seem staid and conservative, just playing their instruments, not prone to bouts of quiet desperation, wondering where their next job is coming from. Is it extremely difficult to get a job like that?

I'm sure Shakespearean actors do not seem desperate, either. Since the only way someone can get a job with a symphony is to wait for someone else to croak, I'd say they are probably a lot more desperate when looking for a job.

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Author: LudditeAndroid Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1305 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 2/17/2003 1:54 PM
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Sorry for the late reply; I'm still catching up on posts since I've been away for months.

As someone who worked as a commissioned painter for awhile, I have to agree fully with J.P. here. I have virtually no painting talent, but I was still able to sell paintings at a total profit of about $8 per hour of labor. I man's inability to paint well is another man's modern art for the living room. It's just a matter of going for it and having the right mindset.

I'm not selling paintings anymore (I didn't enjoy it very much), but now I know that it's not as hard to pursue an art career as everyone tells me it is. Most of those people who tell me it can't be done have never tried it.

My advice to aspiring writers/artists/crafters/etc. is this: just go for it. Even if you lose money, you're talent will improve and you'll know yourself better for it. Plus, you'll have some good stories to tell, like the one I have about the lady (who shall remain nameless) who paid me $80 to pose nude for me.

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1306 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 2/17/2003 2:31 PM
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I have virtually no painting talent, but I was still able to sell paintings at a total profit of about $8 per hour of labor. [One] man's inability to paint well is another man's modern art for the living room.

Yes, bad art is created, bought and sold every day everywhere in the world. <grin>

Here's some good art.

www.artrenewal.org


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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1307 of 5806
Subject: Re: being and becoming Date: 2/17/2003 3:30 PM
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More food for thought:

http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2001/ASOPA/bad_art_good_art1.asp

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