A piece of art can cost lots of money. Or, if one has a good enough eye, a lovely and evocative object can be found for free in the woods. For visual examples of that idea, just go into the archives for my post “ShelfLife.”
Aesthetics aren’t quantifiable by a measure of money. Artistic success depends on an intrinsic assessment not preceded by a dollar sign. A rock or piece of wood may resemble something within our existential scope or evoke an abstract archetype, producing an effect on our psyche difficult to price.
Success is determined by the results we want or need to achieve. I’d think that all here aspire to success, not only in our ability to arrange words, but also to receive positive feedback in the form of dollars, enough to at least finance the effort. Setting realistic goals helps solidify our objectives.
I may be in a unique place among us, considering my finances have about hit their last plateau. Momma and I are finally comfortable after many years of simply not so. This little house is now ours after thirty years of monthly payments. It finally feels like we’re coasting, not clawing. For the most part, I have made a living turning hobbies into businesses, first with restaurants, an extension of my love of good food and cooking, then in the antiques trade, in which I still dabble. Now of course, there’s my … ahem… my gardening hobby, which keeps us in the manner to which we’re accustomed. :>)
On the big picture, Momma X and I have come a long way in the traditional sense, especially since neither of us went to college. She abandoned a scholarship to get into a marriage and out of a bad living situation.
I fucked off at business school, overcut in every class within a month. Seems the pool halls of South Street in downtown Philadelphia had more draw for this student than accounting classes. I wanted to be a salesman at the time, and Pierce Business School was just a bus ride from home. For better or worse, South Street was just a few blocks past Pierce. Often, I kept going. Right past the school. Funny. I did become a salesman with the antiques.
South Street at the time wasn’t the yupped-up scene it is now. It was then a gray and desolate dump, all African-American bars and Jewish rag merchants. Most days I was the only white person hanging out. Certainly the only student from Pierce. No other student would consider going to South Street for a beer after school. Those people were serious about their accounting.
What I'm getting at is that some hobbies make money, some don’t. My record in that regard is pretty good as far as success goes. Just not so much in the writing thing. The consolation is that some people think what I write is okay. So I guess I’ll have to go with the artistically based assessment that I’m like that stick in the woods, perhaps aesthetically valid, but not really worth much money.
So be it. I’m a successful guy. (Mostly)