It will be impossible to make a living as a Poet. I’ve unfortunately come to this conclusion a long time ago. It was in college, observing my professors, especially those who claimed themselves to be Poets, that I realized it. A close friend of mine, a professor, struggles with this fact too. He’s a brilliant talent, I believe one of the standout poets this country can produce, but he’s slaving away in several jobs just to support himself. He still manages to produce a great amount of poetry and publish amazing books. For myself, I have doubts that I can maintain my creativity alongside my “normal” work.
Now my options seem to be very small. People constantly tell me I should become a professor. I loath academia though. I could talk at length about certain subjects, especially Puerto Rican literature now, a growing passion, but to teach seems like a big responsibility. Yes, I do realize that this sense of responsibility seems rather silly – considering the sort of professor that seems to dominate the system now a days. There is simply more career types instead of the more passionate sort. How many times have I struggled looking for a professor who had the right balance? Too many! And I’m not sure what happens to these guys. Is it that they lose the passion teaching the same material again and again, or did they lack the passion in the first place but envision this route to garner some esteem? I have no doubt that the sort of philosophy going into literature now, Post-Mod, is another reason for the quality of teaching, and it is another reason why I would hate being a part of that system. Not to mention I have a big mouth, so that will likely get me in trouble for some absurd reason.
So my options are very slim. I don’t think there are many jobs that could foster my need for poetic creativity. And it is hard to make it in the writing industry.
My best shot will be to participate in as many writing ventures as humanly possible, spreading myself out a bit. News writing, screenplays, short story, even writing for comic books are all options that I’m interested in. It is balancing out the skills between them that will be hard. I love poetry. It is the thing I know I’m good at. I’m always highly critical on myself, but when I produce a meaningful piece I will work hours until it is done. If it isn’t perfect, I will work again. A week later, another revision – even a complete write up/reimagining. The self-criticism gets even worse when it comes to other forms/genres of writing. For example… I have about a dozen or so short stories lying around, untouched for weeks, which I almost refuse to look at. Why? I’m ashamed of them. They may in fact be great, but it is hard to see them that way. I have a few short scripts lying around to… much the same problem. I used to really like writing plays, writing a few absurd ones, but even those have been abandoned for years.
So what should I do? Honestly, I keep leaning back and forth. All I know is that I must do hard work, but in what direction? Should I struggle for a “normal” job, something to pay the bills, and leave the thing I’m passionate about for certain times of the week, working really hard on them? Should I struggle the artistic path, and all those bumpy roads, until I find the niche that will give me the ability to support myself? And if I do choose that path, where should I focus my energy on? Should I focus on poetry and squeeze at every opportunity I can get? Or do I focus all over, putting my attention to everything, as best I can, to support myself? Or do I give up poetry and just focus on another genre that will likely guarantee me some sort of living?
Well… this is where I’m at.