“Much has been said about how writers earn money writing when writing does not earn money; more will be said, too, of the nexus of power, privilege, and prestige in literature, and I have little to add here. More interesting to me is that artists, in fact, do it with and without networks of financial security. They do it because they are driven by desperate and belligerent ambition. They believe, it seems—they must—that they are special enough to endure the slow-motion traffic accident of this world, this reality; that what they are hungry for is more than being simply a body in the world, entangled by the drudgery of space and time…The way I understand art in the arc of a life is similar to how I think about gender. In order to do art the artist has to sacrifice ‘niceties’. In order to comprehend that gender is hegemonic, we have to forgo the protections of patriarchy. One cannot kill all men and marry them for the status too. Or perhaps ‘one’ as a general subject can, but this particular one cannot. There is no getting around that. You want to be an artist because you want a little something of everything, but the having of everything all at once prevents you from stepping out, from seeing the composition in high relief. The cliché—the artist outsider looking in—has to be true, I swear it.”


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