This past week my husband and I went to Boston to visit my oldest son, Ryan, who is near completion of his Master’s degree in Music Composition at the New England Conservatory. He composes “Contemporary Classical” music.
Unfortunately, the inevitable question arose: What will you do post-graduation? (i.e. How are you going to pay your rent and buy food as a young composer with a disdain for commercial music?) The discussion turned (quickly) to how much money a person needs to survive and the importance of following one’s passion.
There is a pie chart, figuratively speaking, about the balance of Talent, Drive, and Money when it comes to raising a “successful” child, which of course leads directly to them becoming “successful” adults. If children are given too much money, it can squeeze out their drive to hone their talents. Conversely, children of little means often are forced to focus on their talents (e.g. good grades leading to scholarships, or basketball skills leading to being drafted by the NBA).
Then we moved on to whether money squelches the highest quality creative talent or lets it shine. Who is more likely to be the next Mozart or J.K. Rowling? Someone who must succeed in order to feed his/her family? Or someone who has no pressure to feed his/her family?
The deeper I get into the world of writing and publishing, the more respect I have for people who are able to complete books while working full-time and raising a family. I don’t think I could have done that with four young sons and eventually my art gallery. It wasn’t until I closed my gallery and my three oldest boys were in college that I dove head first into writing. I am fortunate to have both a husband and father who have been very successful and provided me with the means to follow my passions (first the art world, now writing). And this leads to our conclusion:
Of the figurative pie chart, which element is the strongest for you? In the case of my son, Ryan, and myself, our passion (and hopefully talent) for creating overpowers money. He and I (and my son Elliott who is also a writer) will always compose/write no matter what our bank accounts say; it’s in our blood and our hearts.
But thankfully, for now, we aren’t starving artists.