After writing a recent blog post about not having it all, I started to wonder about the rather old-fashioned romantic view of the artist as having to sacrifice something for that art. This might include ordinary life, financial security, even health or mental well-being. It’s an idea that held some sway with me when young—and I’ve always loved La Boheme. However, when I asked a group of contemporary writers and artists this question, most hardly saw any dilemma at all.
What did you sacrifice?
Some noted that one choice excludes another:
Isabel Winson-Sagan Other life plans
Yehudis Fishman really every choice that is chosen sacrifices the choices not chosen; most of us have multi and often conflicting interests that we have to navigate between.
A few did note the sacrifice:
Larry Goodell A huge sacrifice. No moneyed career. Poverty as a result of priority being the demand of creativity. Consequently very little travel and almost a daily penny pinching. But creative life has its incomparable surprises.
But a lot of the response focused on the purely positive:
Audrey Erin Wiggins I see writing as a gift not a sacrifice. It’s special.
Rod Scott I think it is a sacrifice to ignore the muse. Ignoring the muse has led to decreased empathy and frustration. My challenge has always been to make the effort to embrace the creative muse as it attempts to envelope my consciousness.
Reverie Escobedo When I was writing more, sacrificed on all fronts but was so glad to be writing and it allowed me to be home with my kids.
Holly Baldwin I sacrifice time daily as a parent for my children’s art, but that is very important to me as a member of the human family. More than anything, I sacrifice sleep and exercise, although I have become much better with that studying art/writing than I ever was as a pre-nursing student. I think we all sacrifice something in our pursuits, but it has to be for something extraordinary to our heart for it to be worth the trade off. Do what you love.
Jan Marquart I sacrifice nothing. Writing is first, everything else falls behind that.
Michael Smith No sacrifice at all, except TV. And that is no big loss! But perhaps I am in a unique position.
And some continue to contemplate the muse:
Russell Miller I don’t think I’ve offered up to the gods anything I wanted to keep for myself. But I admit I ask myself that question almost every day.
Guy Nickson Threading the different imperatives of life may not be a matter of volition or sacrifice. Maybe it’s karma or the puppet master that makes us dance our feverish jigs? Only Regret invites the question.
Thanks to all participants—a wonderfully varied and thoughtful cohort.