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the unknown writer and his favorite reader

I have been asked a few times over the years “Who do you write for?”

The answer remains as vain as it has ever been—I write for me.

And self-righteously I argue that creating for oneself is the best person to create for. For there is no better critic, no better supporter, no better motivator and scheduler and conspirator then one’s own self-determination.

As a result, what evolves is often work which is less vain because there is no one to impress but oneself, less restrained because you are less afraid of other’s judgment, and less feigned because no one is questioning its merit, authenticity or applicability.

Even with commissioned works, if the artist takes the directive and makes it their own, ignoring certain orders of tone and their patron’s idiosyncrasies, I do believe that he or she is more apt to produce greater satisfaction internally and abroad.

Creative mavens understand that there is no greater satisfaction than hamming it up with yourself—completing a piece of work and then gloating over it—picking it up, taking it apart, refining it if necessary, shining it, buffing it, polishing it’s gleam further with your proud smile.

Surely, praise from others is also satisfying, but you don’t always get that, whereas when you need it, want it, got to have it, you can always depend on you to give you the encouragement and reassurance you require.

Granted, in order to survive and wile as a professional artist, compromise is almost certainly a must, especially if you are looking to leave the bohemian life.

Which is why I am happy to have my corporate “day job” and remain an amateur writer by night. For somehow I know I’ll be alright if I never have to sell my soul, be controlled or hounded by agents and publicists and publishers and media to meet their pressing deadlines.

For now, I’m inclined to keep my creative time wholly mine, and have my work remain a pure manifestation of me and my underpaid imagination.


Scorpio, July 29, 2004

"Disabuse yourself of the notion that greatness is somehow inextricably linked with fame, power, wealth, or social stature," writes one of my readers, Pyrrol Red. "Some of the greatest human beings have been mostly unknown." This is an important point to keep in mind, Scorpio, as you seek to ascend higher. The essence of your beauty may never be fully appreciated by more than a few people; the gifts you have to offer are so subtle and complex that you might find it hard to encapsulate them in simple forms that gain wide popularity. I'm not saying you'll never be famous, powerful, wealthy, or high-status. But even if you do win those perks, it will be because of decisions you make and actions you take that are free of all lust for them.

~ Rob Brezsny, Free Will Astrology

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