Thursday, 2 October 2008

Day jobs

I came across this piece on the Poetry Society’s website the other day. It would have been nice to see a bit more on each person, maybe, and a wider cross-section of poets generally, but it’s interesting stuff.

There are certainly occasions when I curse the fact that a day job leaves far too little time for writing poetry (not least at the moment), but on the whole I think my attitude probably comes closest to Dennis O’Driscoll’s. Which is to say, however much I think I like the idea of having nothing to do all day except write, in reality I know it would involve a rapid descent into friendless, Crunchy Nut Cornflake addiction in front of repeats of Minder.

On reflection, I think having a day job forces me to be a bit more disciplined in my poetry writing, to make full use of my spare time. Plus, luckily, parts of my job are quite conducive to poetry – long drives, lots of yomping around looking for birds, and easy access to a computer, for example. So what do you think?

5 comments:

Andrew Shields said...

I think your job sounds cool, and on some days I wish I had one like it. But on most days, I'm happy with teaching English in the English Department at a Swiss university! Time for poetry, time for child-raising, lots of interaction with intellectually interesting people.

And like you, I'm sure I would not write full time if I tried to be a full-time writer!

Matt Merritt said...

Your job sounds pretty cool too, Andrew! I think, as you say, the amount of intellectual interaction it offers is a huge attraction.

Background Artist said...

WB Yeats made his own job by doing it full time, poets in residence seem to do OK, and so it depends on the individual i suppose.

. i reckon what comes out is what goes in, so if one were to be on it 15 hours a day - reading, writing, reciting, this will show.

have you seen the free 5000 books YouWriteOn.com are going to publish? for 40 quid you can have an isbn and in the shops, 60% royalties.

go to Mackenzie's blog and see it.

love

des

Anonymous said...

I work all day and get half drunk at night...

Larkin.

I think jobs are essential for writers - stop you obssessing about poetry (easy to do) and also stop you writing poems about writing poems &c, not always a welcome thing.

Matt well done indeed on the Forward Book 2009 - I hope it leads to a collection with Cape, swiftly followed by a two week a year gig with a rich Chinese university!

James

Matt Merritt said...

Thanks very much, James. And I'm with you all the way about the poems about writing poems thing.

I think you're right, Des. It very much depends on what you put in.