Friday, February 23, 2007

Money $ Changes Everything--

This book looks fascinating to me. (see the link above or the article below) They say it discusses "the last taboo" of American discourse--- $$.

I'm quite interested in reading the history and money-thoughts of other authors. I tell myself this is because I am a Capricorn who had a Republican father, but maybe money is one way to see where I fall (or rise) in the chart of financial life. And I'm interested to see how different (if at all) these authors lives are now as opposed to how they were growing up.

Writing poetry for money is like practicing shuffleboard so you can become a hockey player, the two things aren't necessarily connected. But with that said, there are opportunities available for poets. And if the moon is in the right part of the sky, the universe is spinning to a tune by Cyndi Lauper, and you've got your head screwed on right (like my nana says), you may receive a check or two and sometimes it can be enough to change your life—your artistic life.

Of course, I think poetry offers payment in ways that can't be counted out in dollar bills. I think the act of writing does that itself.

And it's interesting this *money thang* as a friend recently mentioned to me that the Republicans would never create a major deficit for education, but they would do so for a war. And another report that came out this week said that the worst place for children to grow up is in the UK and the USA as far as developed countries are concerned. So, this money, this status of “rich nation” doesn’t mean too much if we’ve become the drunk uncle fighting with the neighbors instead of the caring parents who are taking care of their kids.
And I guess it’s the same with people, writers included. You can have a fat wallet, but if you’re not healthy or not happy, money is just a number on a bank statement.

I’ve seen people ache to be rich because they think it will bring them happiness, but they are the same old crabby people just driving a nicer car.
What if we actually shared the wealth of this nation in a positive way? What if we were not the drunk uncle but the generous aunt who sends all her nieces and kids in the neighborhood across town handknit sweaters, who shows up in their classes with chocolate cookies. Imagine.




Write Porn, Forge Art, Buy $1,200 Wine: Money Tips From Authors

By James Pressley

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Bankers flaunt their bonuses, and chief executives disclose salaries that make you choke. Yet money, for most people, remains a dirty family secret, something you'd no more discuss over lunch than Aunt Erma's adult diapers.

So it comes as a surprise when author Chris Offutt recalls how his parents paid the bills by mass-producing hard-core porn novels for ``various tastes: gay, lesbian, group, bondage, swap, interracial, incest, sadomasochism, even historical and science fiction.''

``Porn paid the mortgage'' in their gritty Appalachian town, he writes. ``Porn bought clothes and food and medicine.''

Offutt is one of 22 writers who have the guts to discuss what their editors call ``the last taboo'' in American discourse. The result, by turns hilarious and sobering, is ``Money Changes Everything,'' a classy collection of biographical essays edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappell.

The book rattles up and down the social ladder, exploring the aches of the fabulously rich, the misery of the suddenly poor, awkward windfalls, vows of poverty and truly cold cash -- stacks of $100 bills hidden in a freezer.

In ``Nouveau Poor,'' Ruth Konigsberg describes growing up on the Upper East Side of New York in the shadow of the dwindling fortune of 19th-century banker William Wilson Corcoran. As the remembrance unfolds, Konigsberg is sitting at Sotheby's to sell off family heirlooms -- there go the 18th-century Portuguese rococo beech-wood armchairs -- to pay her mother's debts.

Isabel Rose, by contrast, is rolling in cash. She ``comes out of her walk-in closet'' to explain how hard it is to find the right mate when you've grown up on Fifth Avenue.

Crime and Wine

Crime shoots through these stories, like heroin through black veins. Andy Behrman, who chronicled his bipolar disorder in ``Electroboy,'' recounts his frantic buying binges at Barneys in 1980s Manhattan, when his ``art-counterfeiting efforts'' yielded ``neat rubber-banded piles of $10,000'' that he kept in the freezer behind Absolut vodka and Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

Elsewhere, we meet embezzlers, a money-losing drug dealer and teenagers who hold up a gasoline station on ``a mutual dare.'' Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, explores the ``morality'' of drinking a $1,200 bottle of wine. Marian Fontana recalls the painful largesse occasioned by personal loss, as checks from strangers poured into her apartment after her husband, a fireman, perished in the inferno of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Marital Math

The maddening arithmetic of marriage pervades the paired essays of husband and wife Fred Leebron and Kathryn Rhett -- one thinks it's for richer, the other for poorer -- while Walter Kirn captures the psychology of money in divorce settlements: The half his wife got ``felt like a fortune,'' he says. The half he kept ``seemed like two dimes tumbling loose inside a clothes dryer.''

There's something for just about everyone in this crisp collection, which will make you feel better about your bank account, be it big or small. ``Money Changes Everything'' is published by Doubleday (291 pages, $24.95).

After all these reflections on the mutability of fortune, I was relieved to pick up ``It's Called Work for a Reason!'', a bracing rant about the need to work harder and whine less from the ``Pitbull of Personal Development,'' Larry Winget.

On the dust jacket, Winget displays a shaved head, a blue Western shirt ablaze with red roses and lemon-colored cowboy boots. He lives in Arizona and makes a living by being rude.

``You,'' he declares, ``are a thief!'' Translation: ``Any time you don't give your best effort, you are stealing'' -- from your company, coworkers, customers and yourself.

`Eight ATEs'

All that matters, Winget says, are results -- not the hours you put in. And if you don't get results, blame yourself, not your boss or co-workers. ``If your life sucks, it's because YOU suck,'' he says.

Motivational mumbo-jumbo bores me, and I'm annoyed when Winget recycles his homily on ``the eight ATEs of leadership,'' starting with creATE. Yet his advice elsewhere is so blunt and so true that it might keep you sane until you retire.

``It's Called Work for a Reason!'' is from Gotham (240 pages, $26).

James Pressley writes for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

2 comments:

January said...

Money, and the business side of poetry, is of great interest to me.

The latest issues of Writers' Digest and Poets&Writers have articles that touch upon those subjects. In fact, Writers' Digest goes deeper with articles on getting your work out there and self publishing.

If you figure out a way to make money on poetry, please let the rest of us know!

:)

aka Leonardo Likes Gulls said...

If you figure out a way to make money on poetry, please let the rest of us know!

I'm working on it! ;-)

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