Follow Your Writerly Dreams, or, Better Still, Don’t.

As a boy, the poet Ovid would talk in rhyme as he went about his day on the family farm. His dad would clip him about the ear and tell him to stop, saying “Do not be a poet, my boy! Homer died but a poor man!” (How Ovid senior knew this is a mystery- Homer’s life is barely known and, indeed, he may not have even existed- but Dad seems to have had the inside scoop and Ovid would likely have got a clip on his other ear if he’d have questioned it).

There’s two lessons here:
1: Ovid became the most popular poet of his generation, arguably the greatest Roman poet ever and went to influence western literature for the next two thousand years. Never listen to your parents.

2: Ovid’s poetry upset the Emperor, he got exiled to the very edge of the empire and he died away from his family and friends surrounded by people whose language he couldn’t even speak. Listen to your parents.

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