Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Starving Artist? It's all relative

It's seven degrees Celsius today in West Dublin, NS. A beautiful day! So nice that I ate my lunch sitting on the back stoop and this afternoon I'm going to tackle the wood pile. I can't help but think that six weeks ago, a seven degree day was freezing! And now, it's a warm day.

I've been thinking about that in terms of money, too. I think we're all prone, and maybe artists more than some, to thinking that we're poor. Tight of funds. Struggling to get by. The image of the Starving Artist looms large. Artists pour a lot of time, energy and money into doing what we love. And then we feel strapped for cash. Crossing our fingers that just one more person will buy our new record (hint, hint) on Bandcamp and we'll be able to pay rent the next month.

But, I'm giving myself a wake-up and a shake-up. I am not poor. I am warm, properly fed and live in the most beautiful place in the world. My rent is pretty cheap and there are six cords of wood out back, just waiting to be stacked.

To find true poverty, I don't have to look very far. In the midst of our affluent nation, there are people living in construction trailers which were never meant to be residences. There are people struggling for the bare necessities.

I was reminded of that this week, when my friend Todd invited me to Share Something Day, an event that he is organizing through his 500 Kindnesses project on November 23, 2012. On the same day as Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day, Todd is inviting people to simply share something of their choice either with friends or strangers.

It happens that I have a show on Friday, November 23. I'll be singing and playing at The Biscuit Eater Cafe and Bookstore. I had a show at the Biscuit Eater last November, too, right around the time that the news about Attawapiskat was hitting its peak (remember Attawapiskat? You can find updates on how they're doing now on their web site). Last year, I donated all sales of merchandise from The Biscuit Eater show to Shannen's Dream, a charity that is working for the people of Attawapiskat. And I'm going to do the same thing this year. So, please come on out and pick up a copy of my new CD. Or a T-shirt. Or an old CD. If you can't make it to the show, consider giving to a charity of your choice, just because you can.

To heck with feeling poor, I say. It's a crazy way to feel when I was born into a level of privilege and comfort that much of the world only dreams of.

Starving Artist? It's all relative.


  1. I am so with you on this post. I am sometimes lost in the burden of our affluence and feel we should strive for more. Our thoughts to which bill is next in line and worry about providing a future for my children all the while some are wondering where they can get a meal. I am blessed to have a stable income to allow me to be a musician and not worry where my next meal is coming from. Thanks for reminding us that we have more blessings than most in other places.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tim. It's good to know that this post resonated with you. Life is good. Let's sing our gratitude, eh?