Thursday, March 13, 2008

Writing vs. writing

Many years ago, when I'd just started working at a new office as a reporter, I got a call from Shozu Ben.
I found this great job for you, he says, teaching English at a school.
It's perfect for you.
He can't believed I'm not taking the job.
He can't comprehend why a poet would take a full-time reporting job.
What about time for poetry _ real writing?
Why? he asks puzzled, maybe exasperated, even disgusted.
He probably thought I was ungrateful.
Now that I think back, it was so sweet of him.
I had just met him once at a reading.
He also probably thought I was very misguided.


Anonymous said...

I think that any gaikokujin who finds work in Tokyo that isn't English teaching should jump at the chance for a 'real job,' and that Writing begets writing.

Yuri Kageyama said...

Thanks. What do you mean by writing begets writing?
You mean that it's most important to keep writing if you want to be a writer?
I sometimes think it must be very difficult and even painful to be a fiction writer or poet and have to deal with the market.
What sells in the market isn't always the best as far as artistic quality.

Anonymous said...

you're right about the market.
I think what I mean is that writing in any genre is a kind of creation, even if it is fluff - and therefore will ultimately help anyone become more articulate in the writing or poetry they prefer.

then again, if someone asked me to choreograph Jazz dance or tap / modern dance for a living, I might be pretty unhappy. Maybe it is the same.

Yuri Kageyama said...

Uh-oh. And so the solution is to wait on tables and remain true to the art form that is your artistic voice?
I guess that's the purist solution.
But there are many pluses to being a journalist.
You meet a lot of people, and you learn a lot about the changes in the world.
There is little risk of becoming isolated in an invory tower.
What would be really sad is having to compromise your writing for the market _ just to sell copies.

theeasysubcult said...

hi. nice to meet you.
i taught ESL in tokyo for 3 years and the whole time i wished i got a job at the yomiuri or the mainichi. it was just too easy to teach english.... oh well.
but writers never really stop writing, or at least thinking about writing, regardless of their day jobs.

this is me:

Yuri Kageyama said...

Nice to meet you.
We can never stop being who we are.
You're right _ that's the most important thing.