I will first send you to Aaron Polson's blog post from yesterday: "Why I'll Never Make a Living as a Writer." Mr. Polson, educator and molder of young minds, explores the state of short fiction and the state of 'popular art' in general. His post is fueled by a recent comment on Robert Swartwoods's blog that basically said "...if you want people to read what you write, then you have to write what people want to read..." An interesting post, and interesting comments on the 'fluff vs. art' issue.
My next referral is to Cathy Olliffe's post yesterday on her blog Life on the Muskoka River. She posts about Hugh Garner, whom she describes as Canadian 'literary bad-boy' of the 1950's and 60's. He often wrote of the mean streets of Toronto, from his working-class roots, and managed to eek out a living as a full-time writer.
Check out her link to Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing that describes Garner as...an outspoken social critic and self proclaimed “one man trade union,” Garner was not afraid to argue with his agents, publishers, and editors in order to control the content of his writing, ensure that his books were properly displayed in retail outlets, and to squeeze as much income as he could from his published works.
Hugh Garner is one of Cathy's literary heroes. After reading her post and the link I can understand why. He managed to 'out-tough' a tough business and stay in control of his writing. I wonder how he would have managed in this wondrous age of Internet publishing.