December 1st, 2001
"After all, the country, the world--this city--was full of people who got up in the morning and went to bed at night and, mainly, throughout their lives, to the same bed. They did whatever it was they were supposed to do, and they raised their children. And perhaps he didn't like these people very much, but, then, he didn't, on the other hand, know them. He supposed that they existed because he had been told he did; presumably, the faces he saw on subways and in streets belonged to these people, who were admirable because they were numerous. His mother and father and his married sister and her husband and their friends were part of this multitude, and his younger brother would belong to them soon. And what did he know about them, really, except that they were ashamed of him? They didn't know that he was real. It seemed that they didn't for that matter, know that they were real, but he was insufficiently simple to find this notion comforting."
I like these words, words written nearly 40 years ago. In the novel, these words are the thoughts of the character named Vivaldo, a struggling writer. Writers, musicians, artists, anyone who tries to live a lifestyle that isn't the norm, a lifestyle that doesn't involve a 9 to 5 job, live a different life. We work hard, struggle, and bring in a meager income. And typically, these artists (for they're all artists. Writing is art. Music is art) don't get enough respect. Instead, fake, superficial people throw us snide remarks and wonder why we won't hold down a normal job.