Remember that line from Amistad, the Steven Spielberg movie? When the slave Cinque stands up in that colonial courtroom and screams "Give us us free!" over and over again? It's a very poignant and genuine moment in the midst of an awful overall film. But it's stuck with me.
I like the simple, direct, and profound sentiment tied up in his statement. Cinque's intelligent eyes darting back and forth, trying to cobble together what little English he knows. This is the deepest desire of every human being on earth. We all just want to be free.
I just saw an old clip of George Carlin doing his thing. He was great, I loved him a lot. This particular routine involved him telling the audience point blank that we're all owned by corporations, and these corporate overlords are making it increasingly hard for us to live happy lives. Want an education? You'd better be ready to go into indentured servitude to afford it. Want to work only one job and maintain a healthy lifestyle? Keep dreaming.
This, I think, extends to us as writers. Do we really want to tie ourselves to huge conglomerate corporations just to stroke our vanity, just so our book can be seen in every Walmart in America? Just to become rich? Some of us do, and I'm not judging. But as for me, as I get older, I just don't want that. I want to be able to write what I write and not have to restrict my content to whatever a company tells me to restrict it to.
I work hard to pay my bills and try to scrimp and save where I can. But I refuse to let any company touch my art. I won't do it. It's mine. It's what keeps me free.