A friend introduced me to the pleasure of listening to podcasts while crafting, which I’ve found enjoyable and enlightening. One of the podcasts I’ve been trying out recently is NPR International’s Studio 360. I like arts. I like culture. All that.
In an episode on reinvention, I listened to the host, Kurt Andersen, and author/lawyer Elizabeth Wurtzel discuss how intellectual property is treated in the US, as well as the free market’s effect on art and artistic expression. I was struck by Ms. Wurtzel’s proclamation that artists should not just give their work away. Then the host said something to the effect of “That’s why I don’t blog.”
Whoa, I thought. Are these two sitting on pearly pedestals, shaking their heads in wonderment at fools like me? Out here on the internet just spewing creativity that, had I any brains, I’d withhold (or offer the bare minimum of/sneak peaks) until someone slapped down some cash? Is this why I’m so poor?
Then I recalled something I read Alice Walker say (if I paraphrase incorrectly, the mistake is all mine): she blogs to circumvent the system, to give her writing away. Hmm.
Which brings me to the question: is Whole Heart Local a waste of my earning power? I can tell you the pleasure it gives me to speak my mind here. How writing is my way of giving back to those blogs I currently follow and love. How the internet levels the playing field for me in terms of what I can access, what I can offer. I can tell you that -in electricity fees, wear and tear on my computer/the price of developing 35mm film/my annual subscription to Flickr, yearly fees for hosting the url- it costs me to maintain this blog, which I expect to give back nothing other than perhaps increased access to the global digital community. Maybe a lucky off-screen friendship. Who knows?
I don’t have an answer to the claim that people who share their art and soul on the internet are giving precious away for free.
I can say that, in the most general sense, I find sharing enormously satisfying.