• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Money Doesn’t Talk It Swears

We’ve never talked about this before. Not once. So let’s rip the roof of the fucker. I want to talk about bank. Money. Moola. Mool. Coin. Benjis, Clams. Pigs in Blankets. Soda cans. How much do you make as a writer. Nothing? Are you in debt? Are you scraping by? Rolling in it? I think Samuel Johnson said only a fool writes for anything but money. I know so many writers who do it for very little or no money. There is nothing better than being paid for your writing, though having readers and being loved isn’t bad. When I was a new agent, I sold two novels at the same time. I thought one was really commercial and it got a small advance. The other I thought was very literary and it got a huge advance. To this day, I don’t get it. It’s not mysterious, it’s mystifying and logic- busting.

Do you write for money?

11 Responses

  1. Yes. Today I’m turning in my second “professional” book, which means I’m writing it for money. And for love. And money, although not very much money. The fucker I seem to be writing for the ghosts in my head.

  2. “Do you write for money?”

    Not intentionally.

    Wait. There was once, a long time ago, when I wrote specifically for money. It was when I was a bartender. My boss came to me one night and asked me if I could write a poem that he could use as a New Year’s gift to a friend. Said he’s pay me ten bucks for it (adjusted for inflation that would be $38.40 today). I don’t think I wrote it that night — though I may have, it may have been a slow night — and gave it to him and he handed over a Hamilton.

    And now that I think about it, I have written letters and case summaries and briefs and legal and factual memoranda for the various attorneys I’ve worked for over the decades, and have been paid for the work. I’ve never thought of it as being paid for my writing. It seems, though, that it is.

  3. Over the years I have been paid for my many op-eds and articles. My first column-gig, after years having been out of the writing-loop, was unpaid, but it led to my second column which was paid.

    Getting paid for what goes from inside your head, to the tips of your fingers, into someone else’s head is a kick.

    It sure feels good though, to know, that someone in-the-know wants to pay you for your stuff. For me it helps validate the effort beyond my own need/love to write.

    “Great piece,” said by a reader is currency too.

    • “Great piece,” said by a reader is currency too.

      Not only is it currency, you can spend it forever and ever. It’s the best sort of currency there is.

  4. No. The money is a nice part of it, but working on a piece for 3 months and getting a few hundred dollars isn’t about to put me in a higher tax bracket.

    I’m not in debt simply because I don’t spend more than I have. Scraping by is a kind way to put it. Long ago I bought some land and figured out how to build a house (when you don’t have money, you have more time), so the mortgage payments — what a scam! A $75,000 home winds up costing $200,000. Lose your job, miss a few payments and bye bye everything. — don’t exist. Five years from now, when my daughter is college bound, this scenario could change.

    I have no idea why I write — it’s just there — and yes, I’ll gladly take the money and run, but a common refrain for me with everything is money is not the deciding factor.

  5. Gosh, you’re asking a tough question. Can I give an ambiguous answer?

    On the one hand, I have turned in work that “fits” what is expected, but recently I said I wanted to move away from that. Who am I kidding? It will still be the sort of book expected – even if different.

    The good news is, I like writing what I write. Win/win – well, only win/win if readers/publisher like it too.

  6. Must be the ides of March. I trip, fall & hurt myself when I think about $$$$.

  7. I write for money, but not in the way that I thought I would.

    I did my MFA in creative writing and managed a small literary press from 2013-2016, then became a magazine editor/writer. After that, I briefly did native ads for a local media organization. Now, I work as a scientific/technical editor and writer specializing in neurodegenerative disease research at a teaching hospital. It’s been an odd career journey, to say the least, lol.

    I still write poems, essays, and blog posts for fun, but between the grad school burnout and the struggle to make creative positions work for pennies, I came to the conclusion that I just don’t like to write creatively for a paycheck anymore.

  8. I wish I did. Maybe. Recently quit a feature writing gig because no raise in ten years, $35 a story plus $15 for first photo and $5 for additional. So I write personal essays and memoir, and landed a small publisher for my novel, but there will be no advance. I do what I love, not bitter but wish writers were more valued in the economy, i.e., paid better.

    • Yep, artists, writers and musicians, trying to make a living….It’s easier to get into an Ivy League school with average grades and poor parents than to make a hummingbird’s weight in gold as a poet.

  9. I am a mercenary, lowdown, no-good whore, prepared to ignore all my best creative urges to deliver what readers will buy.

    The books sell, but I don’t really profit. Because I’m a sellout, a loser, a pulp-fiction nobody, and what good is money anyway? I don’t even want it, I just love the feeling of whoredom. Or should that be whoredoom?

    One day I’ll publish my real books, and a very few people will like them — and one of those will be me, so I guess then I’ll be fulfilled. Until then, my fingers continue to fly, weaving webs of colourful crap for the masses. It’s easier than digging ditches — oh wait, it is digging ditches. Money, no money, whatever — we writers all dig our own graves, one way or another.

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