Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Second Strings to the Bow

When Democritus was banished from Athens, he turned and replied that it was Athens that was banished from his company and wisdom - not he who was banished from the city.

   I have to say this is not only how the independent scholar feels but also the poet who carefully chooses magazines to submit to, cautiously reading the guidelines and back issues...only to be told they nearly made it, that the writing was unusual but unsuitable, that it got lost in the inbox, that the zine has just folded, that they'll take it next time (the next edition of course never comes out), that they like your style but have you anything else like it (answer; no, because you've already sent them one thy didn't like, and this was the 'else', that was the point), that they would have paid you for it a couple of years ago when money was less tight, that they'd love to take it but can only take those with s bigger profile right now, that they would liked to have had your work but ran out of space/time/money and...

   So the best advice is to have another option. If you happen to be a great philosopher in an age without an attention span, or write/perform fiction or poetry without a brief or ready genre, and haven't yet found a niche for x, y or z type of writing in a cripplingly overcrowded market, then you can do nothing better than find something else to be good at that people will appreciate you for. And if that involves being a storyteller and slipping philosophy in that way, or using the power of words to write copy to promote arts workshops to festivals, well, it's a lot better than nothing and pays better than thought or art for their own sakes. 

   What's more - think about it this way - it's their loss! Two fingers to Athens then...

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