"So, like I always say, it all comes down to how much you need to inflict yourself on the world. You’re good enough. If you kiss the right ass, you could certainly make a career […] Sure, there are stars, most of them hacks, who make silly amounts of money, but for the rest of us, it’s just endurance, perdurance. Do you have the guts to perdure? To be dismissed by some pissant and keep coming? To be dumped by your gallerist? To scramble for teaching gigs? It’s not very glamorous. Is this what you want? You’re good enough for it. You’re not the new sensation, but you’re good enough to get by. But you have to be strong. And petty. That’s really the main thing."
Sam Lipsyte, The Ask
This paragraph gives possibly the best advice and asks the toughest questions about pursing a career in the arts—as a painter (like the narrator), as a writer (like me) or other pursuits you’d file in that same broad category—than anything else I’ve read.
I wish someone had quoted it at my college graduation. Would it have changed anything? Nope. But at least I would’ve known what I was in for.