Do I write for a living? It depends on how you define a living. When my feet hurt from walking away from all the pain in my heart, when it persists still, can I get a balm or a bandage in exchange for these words? Probably not. But I still can write the pain away. And what of the balm and the bandage? I can do something with the time I have after to manage to get them, too. Anyone who tells a writer, or any artist for that matter, to live a life, so bohemian, so out of touch that they fail to be a part of the world they continually add beauty to does not understand that art is reflective—what you put in is what you get. To be an artist had two parts to it, and both were of equal importance. The first was to live in a way that you saw nothing but beauty around—in the birds zooming on an afternoon, in your straggling sadness, in the little joke your friend tells and laughs, in the smile of someone you have not seen for years. The second was to take it as if it were clay and to make something out of it, something tangible, something that others could experience.
What does it mean to be in touch with society? It means to give the cliche of the starving artist up, to live in the same ways as the others, to let go of the ever-so-obvious artistic pride and being different. An artist who lives outside society has no right to make commentary on it. It is those who sit at the same tables, stand in the same queues, watch films in the same theatres, drink at the same bars who have any authority to talk about the others, talk about how they should live and what they should do. One must live among the people with goals and aspirations not entirely unlike the regular person to talk about them. Artistic pride is misplaced; it should be in those who belong to the world, not those who reject it; it should be in those who embrace the world with open arms and welcome it with all the love they can muster.
When someone truly lives in the world, when they walk the same streets as everyone else and get their shoes soiled regularly, they realise they don’t have the time to sit and snark about philosophy and art—they have work to do and bills to pay and forms to fill and cabs to hail.