By a writer who grew up in the city, had the career, the house, the stilettos, and then transplanted herself to a remote field in North Cornwall and became a happy little Housekeeper.
I became compelled to write this blog after a friend of mine was shot down for choosing a simple life by a money driven maniac. To set the scene my friend lives in Cornwall just a stones throw from the cliffs overlooking the roaring Atlantic Ocean. He resides in an old caravan, which he worked hard on converting into his own home, here he lives with his kitten Dickens. Most nights he sits out by the fire watching the shooting stars and playing guitar. He earns a living off his art by playing in a band, which performs at major festivals around the UK and Europe. Sounds dreamy?
The world today has a derogatory view towards those who live off their art and even live off grid. For some reason success seems to be defined in the West by a career in say the financial industry, a mortgage perhaps on a four-bedroom new build property, and a car on finance. For some people these things may provide them every ounce of happiness they need in life. If so this means that person has found success, a congratulations is in order. However would this person understand an alternative form of success?
Each of us has individual wants in life. Some people may find going out for cocktails on a Friday night in a hip bar is far more de-stressing than perhaps going on a four-hour ramble through nature. Surely then success is as personal as our recreational choices.
Back on the subject of my friend in the caravan, he was labelled as lazy. Why? Because he doesn’t catch the tube to the office block at eight in the morning? On a typical performance day a musician might leave the house at 12 noon and arrive to a venue across the country for a 6pm sound check. After one hell of a drive and loading in own gear there may just be enough time to find a meal from somewhere. After the show they may be packed down and out the door for gone midnight. Then there is the drive home. Looks to me like a longer day than a 9 till 5 job. Lets bare in mind the countless hours of promoting, marketing, and social media shenanigans that go into plugging your own gig.
My friend was told he needed a normal job? NORMAL? What exactly is normal? Being unhappy in a job you hate? He was told he needs a proper house and a mortgage. Why would he want to be paying for a house for 35 years when he can live in a van and park at a different beach each night? You need to earn money he was told. He does earn money, through his art. He went to work when you were coming home from work. When he got back from work you were just getting up to go to work.
Meeting someone who is really following their dreams and working so hard to spread love and joy in a world of chaos and hate, to me, is equally and as successful as the person who claims they have a dream job working in a bank. But the bank job is only success if the banker is happy.
In conclusion does someone really have a right to claim whether another is successful or not? Artists are owed as much dignity and respect as the doctor, the lawyer in the suit, and the scientist curing disease. They are helping people in their very own line of work. It’s because of the musician, the poet, the actor, and the dancer that people are given a reason to smile, laugh, cry, dance, scream, and cheer. Artists are the ones responsible for giving the modern world that spark of magic. A good festival, a beautiful book, a hilarious play, an upbeat song, without these things what would life be? A world of work, work, work, with no escapism, no beat to get lost in, no book to take us to another place, no film to make us laugh and cry all within the same breath.
May the world of arts prosper and only view persecution as inspiration to plough on and never stop living the dream. The artist’s dreams are what make us dream and make us believe that our dreams CAN come true. The ARTS will never be stomped out. May the naysayers just make us stronger!