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The Starving Artist's Survival Guide

The Starving Artist's Survival Guide

by Marianne Taylor, Laurie Lindop, Paul Weil (Illustrator)

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A Blackened Chicken Soup for the Artistic Soul
Passion, humiliation, and depravity are the cornerstones of the artistic spirit. How else to rationalize one's deliberate choice to face a life of unsigned rejection letters, calls from worried parents and collection agencies, and cups and cups of ramen noodles? Being a noble artiste is a rough gig. It's


A Blackened Chicken Soup for the Artistic Soul
Passion, humiliation, and depravity are the cornerstones of the artistic spirit. How else to rationalize one's deliberate choice to face a life of unsigned rejection letters, calls from worried parents and collection agencies, and cups and cups of ramen noodles? Being a noble artiste is a rough gig. It's one part denial, one part masochism. And it gets all the respect of being a fry cook, without the convenient minimum wage. Only a fool would agree to such soul crushing — until now.
The Starving Artist's Survival Guide boldly reassures both the dreamer and the doer that you are not alone. Regardless of whether you are a painter, a poet, a musician, a writer, an actor, or simply paralyzed by an English lit or fine arts degree, help has arrived. Topics include the pros and cons of various artistic day jobs ("People love clowns, except for the 80 percent who want to beat them up and the 20 percent who do"), coping with form-letter rejections through the healing power of haikus ("You, blinking red light, / A call back from my agent? / No, just goddamn Mom"), a survey of artists' dwellings (from the romanticized loft to Mama's rent-free attic), and most important, "Holding On: Ten Good Reasons to Keep Your Head out of the Oven."
Both celebrating and satirizing the pretentious poor, The Starving Artist's Survival Guide recognizes that the best way to cope with self-inflicted poverty is with unbarred humor, not macramé and coupon clipping.

Product Details

Gallery Books
Publication date:
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5.75(w) x 7.25(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Starving Artist's Survival Guide

By Marianne Taylor

Simon Spotlight Entertainment

Copyright © 2005 Marianne Taylor
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1416908269

Critic Types

Just as music is often classified into rock, jazz, hip-hop, and so on, critics can also be categorized by their particular style and tone.

PhD Critic

This critic is primarily a reviewer of poetry and literary fiction. Having spent way too much time in the ivory tower, "Doc" writes reviews filled with so many Latinate words that even after a dictionary translation, you still have no idea what it means. The good news is that you can pick out any of his phrases at random ("this work is part of the hermeneutic devaluing of the postmodern dictum") and use them as back cover blurbs -- you'll sound smart and no one else can define "hermeneutic."

Bribe with: Oxford English Dictionary

Hero: Thomas Pynchon

Gonzo Critic

Found trolling after rock bands, often mistaken for groupie. Tendency to play air drums. Whatever the artist does, Gonzo is right there snorting, sniffing, and screwing along. Is frequently overheard saying to editor, "But dude, I just wanted the band to open up to me." Gonzo's dangerous, because loyalty to band buddies is usurped by need to pay for broken hotel television, rehab, strip club tab.

Bribe with: bail money

Favorite possession: Lou Reed's bar towel

Warm Fuzzy Critic

This is everyone's favorite critic. Loving and generous as your kindergarten teacher, Fuzzy refuses on principle to review art that doesn't appeal. Why criticize when you can praise? Why tear down when so many need building up? If you hear you're getting a review from Fuzzy, rejoice -- it's sure to be glowing.

Bribe with: No need...although jelly beans are always appreciated.

Hobby: Collecting Smurfs

British Critic

This critic originally hails from across "the pond" and as such has never subscribed to the American habit of super-sizing. Brit crit believes that the adjective "fine" should be understood to mean exactly what it does, a lesson Brit crit learned way back when at Eton boarding school. When Brit crit got an A, the don said that the work was "fine." The don did not say it had been "the most groundbreakingly earth-shatteringly monumental event to rock modern civilization and a feel-good hit all wrapped up into one sleek and sexy package."

Bribe with: Fortnum & Mason Earl Grey tea (loose, not in bags)

Secret crush: the Queen Mum

The Big Head Critic

These critics are so well-known they have to go to performances incognito. Whatever Big Head says is law. If Big Head loves you, you're set for life. If Big Head hates you, you're sunk for at least five years.

Bribe with: wigs and money

Vacations at: Dan Aykroyd's house on Nantucket

Cannibal Critic

Sometimes an artist decides to take up the poisoned pen by becoming a critic as well. The artist-critic can be the most vicious critic of all. In much the way that guppies will devour each other in a fish tank, one artist will sometimes attack another out of an instinctual fear that there's simply not enough room for everyone. For example, Evelyn Waugh wrote of Stephen Spender: "To see him fumbling with our rich and delicate language, is to experience all the horror of seeing a Sevres vase in the hands of a chimpanzee." Equally biting was Truman Capote's assessment of Jack Kerouac's On the Road: "That's not writing, that's typing."

Bribe with: Promise that when it's your turn to review their work, you'll be nice

Favorite movie: Silence of the Lambs

Gimmick Critic

This critic loves rating systems. Fingers up or fingers down. The circles are empty, a quarter-full, half-full, three-quarters full, or, whoa boy, all the way full! Gimmick Critic reviews a lot of art and wants to make sure that there's variety in the ratings. Even if everything was fantastic, too many full circles on a page looks like a Pac-Man run amok, and so Gimmick will inexplicably give a half-circle to something deserving a full. Too many empty circles -- also not good, so Gimmick will be forced to give bad art a full circle. The trick, therefore, is to make sure your art gets reviewed on a day when there's already a disproportionate number of less-than-fulls.

Bribe with: Phases of the moon poster

Dreams of: Roger Ebert naked and covered in whipped cream

Operatic Critic

This critic may or may not do opera reviews -- the name comes from the critic's screeching sensibilities. A piece of art is either so delicious it causes drooling puddles of delight, or else it is pointless flotsam drifting on a river of sewage waste. "Figaro" has no sense of objectivity and undergoes massive emotional swings. When reviewing a work, Figaro has been known to openly weep, burst into hiccuping guffaws, blanch with horror, then fall sound asleep.

Bribe with: monogrammed hankies

Favorite descriptors: "heartbreaking," "dazzling," "putrid"

Text copyright 2005 by Marianne Taylor and Laurie Lindop

Illustrations copyright 2005 by Paul Weil


Excerpted from The Starving Artist's Survival Guide by Marianne Taylor Copyright © 2005 by Marianne Taylor. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Marianne Taylor is a writer and editor, with a lifelong interest in science and nature. After seven years working for book and magazine publishers, she took the leap into the freelance world, and has since written ten books on wildlife, science and general natural history. She is also an illustrator and keen photographer, and when not at her desk or out with her camera she enjoys running, practicing aikido, and helping out at the local cat rescue center.

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