One of the problems I see for creative people working in the business world is that they feel that they’re “just visiting.” I think this tends to work one of two ways:
1. They think of themselves primarily as creators: “I’m really a painter.” “My real love is music, but it doesn’t pay the bills.” “I’m a writer first.” So they see the corporate work / day job as a big distraction that’s holding them back from being what they “really” are.
2. They identify themselves primarily with their moneymaking profession, such that the creative outlet is never more than a sideline. “Oh, I write poems on the side.” “I have a pottery shed in my backyard, but it’s just a hobby.” So they’re “really” librarians or marketers or programmers or whatever, and the creative part is just a sideline.
Live in Both Cultures
What I’m trying to do for myself — and what I’m recommending to you — is to adopt the approach that you’re BOTH of these things. Just because most people don’t combine the two doesn’t mean that my being a marketer must detract from my fiction writing. And vice versa.
In other words, I don’t have to treat myself like a creative refugee who REALLY belongs in Novelist-land but who finds himself for an extended period in Corporate-land, stumbling over the dialect and never really feeling at home. Similarly, I can immerse myself in deep reading, conversations about art, and especially my own artistic process, without feeling like that has to alienate me from those of my fellow corporate citizens who are more interested in other things.
In other words, I can be fluent in both languages and at home in both cultures, no matter how small the overlap is between the readership of Forbes and that of The Rumpus. And maybe I can help other biculturals navigate their own way, while better translating the artistic process for the more strictly corporate types and business processes for the more strictly artistic types.
- William Carlos Williams
- Wallace Stevens
- Anthony Trollope
Does this make sense? What do you think?