Alexander Jablokov

 

I'm a writer, mostly of science fiction, with a new novel, Brain Thief.

The name is pronounced Yablokov, and the legal name is Jablokow.  My best friends can't spell or pronounce it, so you shouldn't worry about it either.

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Write me at alexjablokow [at] comcast.net

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"The Instructive Tale of the Archeologist and His Wife", Asimov's Science Fiction, out now

"Bad Day on Boscobel", The Other Half of the Sky.

"Feral Moon", novella, Asimov's Science Fiction, March 2013

"Since You Seem to Need a Certain Amount of Guidance", Daily Science Fiction, November 6, 2012

"The Comfort of Strangers", short story, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January/February 2012

"Blind Cat Dance" reprinted in Gardner Dozois's Best Science Fiction of the Year 28

"The Day the Wires Came Down", novelette, Asimov's Science Fiction, April/May 2011

"Plinth Without Figure", short story, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2010

"Warning Label", short story, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine August 2010

"Blind Cat Dance", short story, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine March 2010

Brain Thief, a novel, Tor Books, January 2010

 

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« The economic city vs. the political city | Main | Charter cities »
Monday
Feb222010

The artist and the real day job

At Arisia (a local science fiction convention) I attended a panel on living your creative dream. The people on the panel were musicians, clothing makers, and craftsmen who had found a way to support themselves with their art, sometimes with the help of a money-earning spouse.  Everyone on the panel seemed tremendously happy, and it was inspiring to listen to.

Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with my actual life. I earn very little from my writing. I don't have a freelancer's temperament. And while my spouse does many things, earn enough money to support the family is definitely not one of them.  I admire and respect those who make it on their art, whether it's writing, or sculpture, or music.  It's just that, after many years, I've been forced to admit that I'm not one of them.

So I have a real day job.  I am a marketing director for a financial services firm.  It's a small firm, and I lost my one staff member in a recent budget cut.  I'm good at my job, and try to devote my days to fulfilling its requirements, and selling our company's products. To all appearances, I am a regular middle-class office worker who keeps regular hours and goes to the gym at lunch.

For a long time I was...I wouldn't say resentful of the need for a day job...but certainly not delighted by it. I figured that real artists, if they did have a day job, got one that indicated their denial of its necessity. They worked in a bookstore, or did fill-in design work, or something like that. They lived like graduate students and didn't give in.

I need to feed my children, have health insurance, and lay away money so I'm not impoverished in my declining years.  And I...OK, I might as well admit it...like living well.  I like not worrying about money, I like being able to go to out to dinner with friends, I like being able to afford car repairs, I like taking a vacation now and then.  So, I suspect, do you.

I also want to work on what's intimately important to me--in my case, my writing.  So (most likely, if you are reading this) do you.

Here's what I can tell you: it can be done. You can work a real grownup day job, with responsibilities, fellow employees who rely on your work, a 401(k), standing committees, office politics, and not enough time off.  And you can feel the passionate joy of creation.  I won't pretend it's easy. The occasional bout of despair is inescapable.

I just wanted to let you know you are not alone.

 

 

Reader Comments (2)

An aspect of this that rarely gets remarked upon is that some of us---I confess I am such a one---cannot function when money worries loom. I find my creativity diminishes as my anxiety over income increases, which is the opposite of what it ought to be if I could bring myself to, as you put it, live like a graduate student. I never accepted the "starving artist in a garret" romantic nonsense and I do not believe that for most artists that kind of stress is good for the art in the least. Penury is not productive, nor is deprivation conducive to creative brilliance. Been there, done that.

But it likewise doesn't help to have a job you hate, which was my last job. The resentment tends to put a different but proportionally-similar kind of stress on the psyche with often the same dampening of creativity. It's a bitch.

We're pretty lucky right now. My job ended through obsolescence (digital swept traditional photofinishing away almost overnight) but we have no major bills and my mate makes enough for the time being. That won't last forever, but we've arranged things so that Success doesn't have to come in six-figure drag.

February 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Tiedemann

Bootstrapping entrepreneurs face this all the time. It's called the work/work balance and managing it (along with work/life balance) allows you to have a family and pursue your dreams.

September 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy

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