I spent some time tonight discussing the question of artistic purity with Tim. Whether the guitar players and writers who make a living that is at least related to their craft are more committed and less corrupted than those of us who don't. Well, I tried to make it living on the dole in my dad's house (rent free), and I failed. I spent most of my time lying in my room watching clouds pass over the rooves across the street, or hanging out in coffee shops in Wellingborough having fantasies about the waitresses.
I would still prefer not to work. Not at what I do now, anyway. But a writer is a writer if he writes. The issue is whether or not you are able to maintain your independent mind, your sense of yourself as a creative person. Which is hard when you have to become some grinning corporate cardboard cut-out, assuming (to get your wage), values you don't have or are actually violently opposed to. But if you can do it, if you can preserve your mind, it doesn't matter how you put the bread on your table.
"A man has the right to be as large as he feels he has it in him to be." Ken Kesey said that, or words to that effect, when he was arrested. A writer must be a large man (or woman), if he is to be a good writer. And the company of too many ordinary (read: mainstream) folk tends to reduce your size. But what about the company of ten guitar players who know about nothing except weed and guitar chords? How come one guitar player out of a hundred achieves something remarkable if the company he keeps is as much of a motivator as it seems to the man dragged down by too much ordinary?