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Thursday, February 07, 2008


One cannot be enclosed in reveries,
For present life is carried on at break-neck speed.
If one does not proceed, one misses out;
One must be with the norm, or be cast out.

But why? What if I simply want to dream?
Then I suppose I’d have no food or clothes -
The world now won’t pay for philosophy,
Nor poets, who but muse and write for free.

To live – that is, eat, drink, and have a home,
We need to have a practical career.
Though some still value creativity,
Without reward, they give no generosity.

Or if we dream, as poets do all day,
We must be cruel and sell our thoughts to live.


  1. This is me ranting about the fact that our current world doesn't appreciate talent, creativity, or intelligence anymore. Only things money buy. That's why someone who's a philosopher or a poet can't succeed in the modern world unless they're viciously marketing their work. They can't be dependent on generosity as free-roaming thinkers because no one would take them in - they couldn't afford to keep them and also because there's no direct or monetary reward to them (today reward pretty much = money, anything else can't help them because intelligence, creativity, etc. is not marketed). Instead these people that would be potentially labelled as geniuses (i.e. Plato, Mozart, etc.) would be cast out of modern society because they couldn't adapt to strict, face-paced, commercialized norms of society. These people would unfortunately end up as homeless hobos. That's where my anger stems from. We probably lost a lot of geniuses (not only philosophical ones but scientific, musical, etc.) to other "practical" professions that either satisfied their parents' desires or made more money. It saddens me that money is such a driving force behind people nowadays. We've lost a large number of free-thinking, intelligent people I think. My question: is that why there's no more exceedingly brilliant people like Mozart or Shakespeare anymore? Are they unable to show their genius because it's not lucrative enough? They lived free lives and were allowed to freely create whenever they wanted and patrons would sometimes even subscribe to them. Or, they were like Mozart, who was willing to pay the price for his free-thinking (that he knew was genius) and be undervalued. But today, no one would do that. And thus, have we all become the same: bland, money-based, rejecting of talent, and selfish?

  2. Hey Mike
    I just want to tell you this is my favourite sonnet so far. I comepletely agree with you about how today's society revolves around money too much, and we probably have lost a lot of geniuses who have opted for a more stable career. At the same time you cant expect people to give away money for ideas, (I hate saying it) but it isnt far to the less gifted population. Anyways, I dont want to start ranting, but it's a really great poem.

  3. Hi Hillary! I didn't see your comment but I'm so glad you commented. A lot of times I write and no one comments, so I feel like I'm writing for a lost cause. But it's nice to have input and encouragement. Thanks for commenting!


  4. This sonnet also stems mainly from personal experience; I would gladly be a writer or a poet, but it simply doesn't pay and also will not directly benefit society as much (no appreciates good art anymore). In Careers when I did the career-cruising assignment, I learnt a "Level 1 Writer" makes $0-10 000! And they mainly make income from entering contests and from doing other day jobs, like waitressing. It really saddens me there's no one against these sad societal norms that demand people get normal, high-paying jobs to support themselves. What's also saddening is that people who write good, thoughtful poetry and novels don't get published as easily as someone who would help a big publishing company make millions. Classic example: J.K. Rowling will live down in history as a literary phenomenon not because her writing is a breakthrough in terms of English literature, but because she was able to be popular and make millions by tailoring her writing to what people want.

    I wish more people defied society. :(

  5. So you know, I think it is possible to tailor your writing to please society and put forward a good literary work at the same time. Shakespeare did it! His plays are filled with sexual jokes to please the people who would be watching them, but that does not stop us from regarding him as a genius hundreds of years later. Also, if you want to be a professional writer you should go for it. The great thing about writing is that you can do it while being a scientist or something (that's what I want to do). You can definitely publish a book of your sonnets once you've completed all 365. I'll buy it ;)

  6. Thanks Hillary! The only sad thing is that now, what pleases modern people most are movies and T.V. Books have lost their prominence as entertainment with the advent of technological entertainment. However, there are rich writers, but they usually write popular children's fiction, children’s series, predictably dull fantasy, or adult novels that deal with usual themes that entertain very well and very easily (love, family, etc.). Self-help novels are pretty easy to make money of off too; there are a lot of self-help writers. I'm planning to be a doctor because I can't really do much a writer as a result because I would never write to make money like that – as in to write things that are written for the sole purpose of making money. (Besides, Canada’s in demand of doctors and they can benefit people so much more easily and visibly). However, to make money, writers must write in a way that pleases the public in order to have income. And because public tastes have become much less intellectual and more accesible, writing in a popular way means dumbing down my work. I would never do that; it would compromise the creative integrity of what I do.

    So it’s sad. Today, many people don't appreciate true art anymore and as a result it would be extremely difficult to sustain myself as an artist. As an example, there are so many popular and folk musicians not because the music's better. It's because it's so much easier to play and write, as well as simple and easy for people to relate to. Classical musicians practise 8 hours a day on average and are much less renowned as not many really appreciate their artistry anymore. Classical music is generally extremely complex and rewards only to the careful study and analysis of it. Therefore it's so hard to be a professional writer or any kind of genuine artist for that matter, because society's present taste in art, music, and writing is so far removed from what is artistically genuine. I really want to write, but I know my writing won’t make money as people won’t read it from an artistic and intellectual level, but on a level that is simple and temporarily satisfying.

    Thanks though! If I ever get these sonnets published, I’ll be sure to send you a copy ;)


A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

- Emily Dickinson

Thanks, Wordle!