by Carrie Scott .

The shoulds and shouldn't of artistic motivation

Stephen Elliott, of The Daily Rumpus and author of The Adderall Diaries, yesterday sent out an email to his subscribers.  He, in fact, does it most days.  But yesterday his prose grabbed me a little more than usual, or rather it grabbed me so much so that I am still thinking about it today and now blogging about it.  

And all he did was sum up exactly what should drive an artist.  

Thing is, he did it in a few perfectly casual beautiful sentences.  

It went like this: "I don't deal in the shoulds and shouldn'ts of artistic motivations, except in regards to money. Because if money is your motivation for art then you're already a miserable person. And if it isn't the odds are still against you, but you have a chance and at least you'll experience periods of happiness. But to want attention, to bend to the whim of your ego, those are not problems of art. To want to write and to want to be read are, for many people, the same thing. They are for me. The creation happens within some abstract conversation with a specific audience. An audience better looking and slightly smarter, but not too much smarter, than myself."

And this, he says, is why he writes.