Why I Chose a Poetry Career Over Death

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Americans have a funny relationship to money. We think that money will buy happiness, and unhappiness will bring us money.

From a young age, I knew I wanted to spend my life making art (poetry hadn’t yet entered my existence), but I also really, really wanted to have money. I worried that if I did something that made me happy, like futzing with poetry and making a mess with finger paints, I would have no money. So, I compromised and became an English teacher, which sometimes made me happy, sometimes made me very depressed, often made me tired, and absolutely did not make me rich.

The Myth that Writers Are Special

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There is a myth about writing – all art in fact – that it takes a special personality to do it. A special visionary with a special set of skills, handed down by God at birth, to distinguish the true artist from all other beasts of burden working in the field. The artist has a special sensitivity, a gift for seeing, an affinity for language that puts him or her in a category above other people, the way saints are elevated in the Catholic Church after curing the blind or allowing kings to pull their body apart on a rack.

More on the Advantages of Writing Badly

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I never have writer’s block, and my husband hates me for it.

If you ask him, or any of my friends or family really, they will affirm that expressing what I’m thinking is not my issue. There are no end of things to discuss and no end to my valuable opinions about them, and since most of my friends know this and avoid taking my calls as a result, I have nobody to tell about my opinions except the page. The page never talks back. It’s a great listener. When I write a first draft, I don’t care if it is good because I can always delete it before some analog human comes along with opinions that are different than mine (i.e. wrong).

Write Bad Poetry and Keep Digging!

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I think a lot of folks suffer under the illusion that you have to be born with a special talent, or else you’re sunk. The truth is, like most things, writing can in fact be learned. Like heart-surgery, or using Excel, or making a good quiche Lorraine, writing is a skill. The question is not, “Am I good at this?” but, “Do I like doing it?” Do I like writing, or reading other good writers, or sitting at a desk, staring out a window, contemplating the sound of the rain? If so, then keep doing it, even if you’re not good.

Tresha Faye Haefner: Professional Failure

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Click on the triangle below to hear Allen Rubinstein read this blog entry! For those who suffer from “fear of success” I have a modest proposal: become a professional artist. In all those non-artist careers I’ve never had, people apparently learn how to be a spit-shined, double-breast-suited success, turning out successful memos from some top Continue Reading

Why We Write

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One of the mistakes I sometimes make when I start working with new clients is to assume that they, like I, want to be famous. That they too have a deep dark hole in their hearts they are trying to fill with adoration from strangers. That they didn’t get enough love in their childhoods.