They say life is lived in a spiral. How queer that I am once again faced with the choice of art or business…
A life devoted to making art? Or, instead, a straight job? Every year this choice is faced by a surprising number of young people. As a youth I read a lot of pre-war W. Somerset Maugham stories dealing with exactly that issue. Stories, for example, of a hero never minding what parents and sane people would say while striving to become a poet, painter or concert pianist. And then sometimes admitting defeat.
Maugham himself originally trained to be a doctor. Dan Kennedy, a successful Canadian entrepreneur, has said in one of his little Self Counsel Press books (which I recommend) that he had considered becoming a novelist, but then he took a moment for a visualization: He didn’t want to be starving in an attic! Based on his writings, I’m sure he’s pleased with his high-powered life. As for me, back in my youth I decided that if perchance I ever felt a compelling urge to make art then I could do so just on weekends. That was my choice.