Fred First, the dean of Floyd County bloggers and the high priest of public angst, is fretting over a classic dilemma — doing what you love versus doing what pays the bills.

Writes Fred on Fragments from Floyd:

Here too, like many of my retired and nearly-retired age cohorts and friends, I wrestle with the devil of wasting time for little if any income against the angel of enjoying what I do with my time; I’m trying to come to a sustainable peace between the pleasure of the work and the pain of putting small and occasional numbers on a spreadsheet. Accountants are famous for crushing fragile Muses, you know.

Fred’s quandary is shared by many in Floyd County, an area awash in artists who do what they love but must slave away at things they don’t particularly love to cover the cost of living.  But the problem is not limited to our corner of the world. Amy is a retired actress and most of her friends still in the business wait tables or drive cabs to cover the cost of pursuing their acting career. Most musicians have day jobs to make ends meet.

When I hear and see friends fret over finances, I count myself lucky that I have — for most of my life — been lucky enough to do what I love and make a little money doing it. My one foray away from journalism — into the bowels of the American political system — brought in a lot more income but no job satisfaction. I took a severe pay cut to return to journalism and never looked back.

But others have not been so lucky and this summer, with high gas prices cutting into the number of tourists who visit Floyd and a lagging economy keeping people from spending money for discretionary purchases.  More than one business owner in Floyd has confieded that this is a do or die year and they may not be around is business falls short over the Labor Day weekend.  Some have strong enough resources and sound plans to get them over the current slump but others do not.

Hopefully, we can all weather this current challenge to Floyd’s growing potential as an entertainment and artistic venue.