Here’s to the Dilettantes and Blockheads

I love what former Indy Star critic Jay Harvey wrote in response to my recent post welcoming him to the world of arts blogging.  Here is a direct link to his smart, delightful post entitled “And worth every penny, too: The mixed pleasure of being an unpaid writer”: http://jayharveyupstage.blogspot.com/2013/05/and-worth-every-penny-too-mixed.html.

A few years ago I was trying to figure out how to do what I wanted to do (i.e., write more thoughtfully and usefully about live theatre) without going back to school.  Much as I would love to get two more master’s degrees – one in journalism and one in theatre – I probably won’t ever be able to afford to, for a number of reasons.

I discovered the American Theatre Critics Association and thought, “Ah-HAH!”  I couldn’t afford to do the ATCA’s “critics’ boot camp” right then but I can see it, or something like it, happening for me in the near future.   It sounds like heaven! 

In the meantime, I read as much of the ATCA members’ work as I could, looking for models.

Two of the members had retired from their paid careers as newspaper theatre critics and started their own theatre review blogs.  Both had abandoned their blogs after a while, saying it just felt too much like drudgery when they were no longer getting paid for it and/or being formally published by someone else.  (I’m sorry I can’t remember the writers’ names to quote them exactly, but I don’t want to take the time to look for them again.)

So…when Jay Harvey said he was leaving the Star and starting his own blog, I wondered if he would eventually feel as they did.

But…maybe for him, something else will happen.

Blogging is hard work, even when it’s fun.  And sometimes it’s a tool for influence (with all of the responsibility that comes with that.)  And sometimes it’s a sort of spiritual practice, like meditating.  I’m also beginning to think an independent blog about the arts can become a work of art in its own right. 

Or maybe that is just what I want mine to become.

Anyway, I’m still figuring it out as I go along.  And I look forward to reading more of Jay’s posts!

‘See you at the theatres…

Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com and @IndyTheatre on Twitter.

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