What does it say when a man is tired of vacation and wants to go back to his day job? Is it an act of terrible surrender? Or is my apartment just too much distraction?
Day jobs are a strange animal for the arts in America these days. We need them, absolutely, because there just isn't enough money to go around unless you're incredibly successful, and even that money is relatively fleeting. But on the other hand, it ties you to working for what amounts to be the Kings in a land of serfs. With debt, loans and credit out there, let alone a high standard of living, work of this kind is enforced. It's indentured servitude, obviously. But hey, no one over 16 doesn't know that.
That being said, there is an upside, which is interacting with the world outside of the arts, which is really where art should be speaking and coming from anyway. And it does provide one with trips to the doctor on occasion, which keep us all from suddenly dropping dead.
What is really the best sort of work to take up an artist's time when they're pursuing their true goals? Work that's engaging (and therefore presents the danger of sucking in real energy and interest); work that's incredibly dull (which can feel absolutely brain-numbing, but won't threaten your passion for your real work); evening work so you have your days free; day work so you have your evenings free? Work that pays well so you're more free to do what you like (even though you might get used to a lifestyle that's a bit of a trap); or work that's meager (uncomfortable, but a constant reminder to kick your own ass and make a living as an artist?)
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.