AND SO IT GOES…#214


Someone ,no doubt venerable and long -since considered wise by subsequent historical consensus ,must have originated the notion of ” the struggling artist “, or in our case, ” the struggling writer “. It was probably some person of Greek cultural and ethnic origin ,and, whoever it was, belonged to what originally was refered to as that class of thinker called,” blimey that’s sooo obvious now that you come to mention it !” subsequently known as Classic Greek Philosophy. Struggle,striving,aspiring; the road we have chosen leads to the summit of a Mountain, not to the elevator doors in the entrance lobby of a skyscraper where we simply can’t be arsed to use the stairs. Unless it’s the main entrance lobby during lunch-hour at Megadodo Publications and Zaphod Beeblebrox is about to show up;but I digress. We all know the stats.or at least have some inkling of them,perhaps we googled them once or read about them in a handy ” How to become a famous Writer ” offer. Most practitioners in any given art form are for most of their time not performing their chosen calling. For instance,most “actors” are out of work most of the time; most musicians,most of the time are scratching around hustling for the next gig;any gig. In order for there to be the possibility of one millionaire there has to be 999,999 others who aren’t. The revolutionary developments in media associated technologies and practices broaden and deepen the pool of potential authors and all the inherent possibilities of publication and dissemination exponentially.What the overall impact of that technological/publishing paradigm shift does not do, is necessarily shorten or make “easier” that road to the summit of the Mountain. It plays with Time and our individual and collective notions and expectations of Time.The time taken to achieve a particular mile-marker.But the actual “distance” to the summit of the mountain remains constant; how we as individual artists lessen the time we seem to be taking to travel that distance cannot be reduced simply and straightforwardly by implementing some available generic formulae. If that were the case,we would all,more or less ” get there” in more or less a broadly similar fashion because of the innate efficacy of the aforementioned formulae. Hence the struggle. It seems that,upon mature reflection ,the Greeks had it just about right. Diogenes in particular.Besides putting Alexander The Great in his place with a superbly well-crafted patronising put-down,Diogenes ,father of the Stoic School knew this and articulated it so well, ” that nothing worthwhile can ever be achieved without pain and sacrifice “. Ergo sum,if you are not experiencing some pain (however defined) and some discernible sacrifice then clearly you are not achieving that which you chose as your vocation. The only Caveat worth bearing in mind when contemplating Stoicism,is the disconcertingly similar modern Yankee-fied idiom which has all that Classic ambience,subtlety and nuanced texture down to ,” no pain,no gain”. which in fact is mistaken and egregiously so. Marketing ,p.r. and motivational speakers need to be poltely yet firmly shown the open doors of the lift shaft,ideally with the lift itself not there,if you get my drift.

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