stirring the pot on her blog again.
http://stroppyauthor.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/who-pays-piper.html "I don't approve of Arts Council grants to writers" she wrote "The public purse should not - as a rule - fund the personal ambition of people who want to write fiction, poetry or non-fiction".
I can, I think, understand where she is coming from because she goes on to say,
"I see no problem in funding where the intended beneficiary is the public. A community might need a theatre or art gallery, or subsidised tickets to performances but arts funding should be targeted to the general good and not at individual authors in need of money."
I splashed my paws vigorously in the Stroppy Author's pot because, although I do not violently disagree with what she had to say, I think there are some issues there. Writers have always been the poor relations in the arts. They are likely to go on being the poor relations too.
This is because writing is not usually seen as being "work". It is supposed to be "easy". Writers will tell you otherwise but that is the perception that non-writers have, even when they tell you they think it must be "very difficult" to write a book. After all, you just sit there and put the words on the page (or the screen) and then send it off and it gets printed and sold in a bookshop or put on the library shelves. That's all there is to it - or so "they" would have us believe.
Musicians, ballet dancers and actors on the other hand clearly need to practice (although I doubt many people realise how much work goes into that) and artists need paint and canvas and a gallery in which to hang their work. An artist produces something unique too. There is a belief that makes it much more valuable than words in a book which can be reproduced over and over again.
The problem with the Stroppy Author's argument however is that by subsidising the theatre tickets for the general good (or indeed the library) then you are supporting some playwrights and authors over others. By keeping an art gallery open for the general good you are supporting some artists over others. By providing a grant for "experimental theatre", an "art installation" or some other arts related event you are still supporting one form of art over another. They may well be "important" and of "general benefit" to the community but they are still someone's personal dream and they are normally produced at a loss to the taxpayer.
Without taxpayer funds there would be almost no symphony orchestras. Operas and ballet would not be produced. Many popular music festivals depend on some taxpayer input. Open air art shows often rely on the use of public space. Our local council has a foyer gallery where artists can show their work for sale. If they sell anything the council gets a small fee but the space is otherwise free. There are many similar arrangements for artists and craftspeople in other places. There are almost no such arrangements for writers.
But the Stroppy Author argues that publishing is a business. If one book fails to sell then you can go to the library and borrow another. It is almost as if "it doesn't really matter".
I will splash the pot even more vigorously with my paws and ask, "Does it matter?"