In 2017, award-winning essayist and critic William Deresiewicz emailed me and asked if he could interview me about my life, work, art, and finances. (Those are four of my favorite topics to discuss, so of course I said yes.) Deresiewicz explained that he was writing a book about “arts careers in the new economy” — and this summer, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech was published.
A lot has changed, in terms of my life, work, art, and finances, since 2017. Even back then, I wouldn’t have said I was “struggling to survive” — I think my last official “struggle” year was 2012, and I spent half of it living off the $10K I’d saved up (and the other half going into $14K of credit card debt that I finally paid off in 2016) so it doesn’t even really count.
That said, the way I am profiled in The Death of the Artist is lovely, honest, and insightful. Here’s how it begins:
Nicole Dieker is pretty much the ideal person to have tried to self-publish a work of literary fiction. Dieker grew up in small-town Missouri, the older of two daughters of a piano teacher and a music professor. Her upbringing taught her to value the arts, but above all, she told me, it taught her to practice. “The idea that every day you’re going to sit down at your instrument and you’re going to try to get better at it—that taught me as much about how to be an artist as the actual art itself.”
If you want to read Deresiewicz’s thoughts on why my freelance career has gone so well — and his analysis of The Biographies of Ordinary People both as a text and as a marketing project — you’ll have to read The Death of the Artist for yourself.
The other artist profiles are pretty good, too. ❤️