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William Carlos Williams on the freedom of keeping your day job

Feb 14, 2012
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William Carlos Williams on the freedom of keeping your day job

In his Autobiography, William Carlos Williams recounts what led him to pursue medicine as a career:

No one was ever going to be in a position to tell me what to write, and you can say that again. No one, and I meant no one (for money) was ever (never) going to tell me how or what I was going to write. That was number one…

I wasn’t going to make any money by writing. Therefore I had to have a means to support myself…for I didn’t intend to die for art nor to be bedbug food for it…

It was money that finally decided me. I would continue medicine, for I was determined to be a poet; only medicine, a job I enjoyed, would make it possible for me to live and write as I wanted to. I would live: that first, and write, by God, as I wanted to if it took me all eternity to accomplish my design. My furious wish was to be normal, undrunk, balanced in everything. I would marry (but not yet!) have children and still write, in fact, therefore to write. I would not court disease, live in the slums for the sake of art, give lice a holiday. I would not “die for art,” but live for it, grimly! and work, work, work (like Pop), beat the game and be free (like Mom, poor soul!) to write, write as I alone should write…

Filed under: day job

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  1. unrealcities reblogged this from isabelthespy
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  3. ideoplast reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    Attempts to share this via tumblr-native means are failing … via hypotheticalwren via austinkleon
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  8. apartinthemidstof reblogged this from isabelthespy and added:
    Splendid. Autobiography first, then into his poetry I go.
  9. rafaelfajardo reblogged this from austinkleon
  10. unsunglory reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    In his Autobiography, William Carlos Williams recounts what led him to pursue medicine as a
  11. tumblingforth reblogged this from isabelthespy
  12. isabelthespy reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    i enjoyed this.
  13. bbpratt reblogged this from austinkleon
  14. iamafanofleanne reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    These words speak...me deeply. Too bad I did not go into something more lucrative like...
  15. zoelle reblogged this from austinkleon
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