I tried sharing news with married friends, loose acquaintances rather, that I have decided to pursue a fully funded MFA program in creative writing after our wedding.
They are both lawyers and the husband ex-USMC recruiter.
They were so puzzled. Instead of congratulating me for a brave next step (or plan to make such a step) they tried to negotiate me out of it.
“But why not get a master’s in a more general form of writing that you can use in the nonprofit world where you work? Shouldn’t you learn grantwriting? Why poetry or fiction? That’s a hobby.”
I enlightened them that grantwriting is a skill you can take as a continuing education course at the community college. Wanting to be a writer is something I’ve always known was in me. But you can’t explain art and beauty to lawyers and recruiters.
I didn’t try.
But maybe anyone stumbling upon this can use it to their benefit. Anyone else you know that is committed to the lifestyle and adventures of pursuing art, don’t treat them like a person that has signed on to contract tuberculosis.
Writers and artists won’t be miserable and poor their whole lives if they do what they love. If they are not making art or writing, that is when they will find themselves unhappiest.
Congratulate your artist and writer friends for pursuing truth beyond money. In many cultures around the world the artist is revered as a form of medium, communicating with gods and celestial beings and bringing their visions back to enlighten the rest of the people they live amongst.
Artists are superhuman in that way.
I majored in studio art for the education, not for the job prospects. Getting an MFA in writing is the same thing for me. Seeking exposure to work that will increase my intellectual capacity, and exploring how to contribute to that work in a meaningful way.