Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Get a Job

My advice to young Canadian writers is ... to take a temporary part-time job. It could even be in a university, especially in a Creative Writing course, so long as it is temporary or part-time. But better perhaps to fish salmon in the season and work on novels out of it it, as one ex-student of mine is doing; or run a rooming house and write plays for the CBC, which is how a young woman I know is managing both to live and to write what she wants; or take a nine-to-five banking job with no homework, as Raymond Souster has done.

--Earle Birney, "The Writer and His Education"


Jason said...

Zach, here's a quote about Eliot and Stevens, from Dana Gioia, which I've always liked: "They did not define themselves as men of poetry alone but recognized other ambitions and responsibilities - even when the resulting actions were painfully at odds with their literary dreams. They knowingly sacrificed time and energy away from their writing. Paradoxically those compromises saved them as artists. By refusing to simplify themselves into the conventional image of a poet, they affirmed their own spiritual individuality, and the daily friction of their jobs toughened their resolve. Ultimately the decisions they made forced them to choose between abandoning poetry and practicing it without illusions."

Zachariah Wells said...

Quite so. Thanks for that, Jason.