Today my mother called me when I was slammed with work. She does that a lot. It’s ok, because she’s mom and I love her. Usually I rush her off the phone with a promise to call later (which I always do), but today I listened. She was excitedly talking about Harlan Ellison and some interview she saw on The Sundance Channel. She was really excited about it, which surprised me because mom doesn’t go in for foul or crude language or free-spirited thinkers (unless they are saints). Mom, I know you know I’m teasing you, but this is true – admit it!!
In the interview, Ellison discusses this phenomenon where writers are asked to write for free. He is appalled by this practice; insulted, even. And he’s right. Creativity is work, just like doing dishes, paving roads or being the governor. And when you work at something, it’s only right you get paid for it. (I’m still working on a solution for the stay-at-hom moms out there, but I’m puzzled on how to approach that one.)
I build websites and consult on internet stuff for a living. I can’t even count how many people have asked me to do it for less money or for free. In the beginning of my business, I did it a lot. I am not doing it any more. It’s hard, because you want that business, but by doing things for cheap or for free, you are cheapening your work and the work of your contemporaries. This is the same for all of you artists who are patiently and quietly working on softies or paintings or collages or altered art and so on. Your inspiration is of great value to the world. Think about it.
And for those who are wondering, the smudge of lime green pastel is still on the sleeve of my hoodie. Which is good, because it helps me still believe I’m an artist, because there hasn’t been much proof of that lately. Also, I can’t find my camera. 😉