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Question Time

Question: What are you if you fail to be a hack writer?

Also: As an artist, are you required to live at the extreme edge of your art? That is, if you love heavy metal, & like to play heavy metal every Tuesday night at your local bar, are you still a heavy metal rocker if you’ve gotten to middle age, had a hair cut, & look like a lawyer? Are you a heavy metal rocker if your jeans are new? Are you a metal head, indeed, if you look like three guys who loved Metallica in the nineties & have recently decided to relive that lost love even though two of you are now lawyers and the other one runs a shop? Can you still rock on if every time you try to make that heavy metal leap&landhard, you miss the beat & look stupid?

Conversely: Are you *not* a genuine heavy metal lover just because you have found a _part_ of your life in which to publicly make love to the metal, while carrying on successful mainstream (dare I say, mundane) lives in every other respect? Do you love metal _less_ just because you’re able to balance it with other achievements?

Must you forsake all balance — all of it — in order to fully express your art?

As an artist, then — if I am to summarise this line of thought — can you entirely suck the marrow from your art if you’re playing it safe in other ways? Is art required to be dangerous? Does it require you to be dangerous? Must you be dangerous all the time?

Can you possibly be only partially dangerous?

How close to the edge must you be?

And is it necessary to leap?