memorial for a brilliant woman

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm having poet-envy-

How do all these poets find the time and money to travel all over the place to do poetry readings?? Seriously, I'm puzzled. I get groceries and gas. I don't go on cruises and trips- I spent a week in June visiting a friend and was eating yogurt for two months (and that was too long- I didn't know, I thought a week was what a vacation was- my faux paux, cultural ignorance- it almost wrecked our friendship, I think, but there are other factors in play, like jobs and shit and my emotional state- I don't think he reads my blog so I can talk about it)

Maybe I don't have enough credit card debt, or maybe everyone else in the world makes more money than I do (that wouldn't be hard). I want to read that book I keep hearing about onNPR about teaching black families to acquire wealth- little girls (aka old women) from East Texas red-clay farmers could use a few lessons, too.

If there is a pool of poet money/plane tickets, stuff like that in a secret location would someone shoot out an email and clue me in?

My poverty is driving me crazy- so I'm quitting my day job. That's America for you.

In the meantime, Tony (the work study student I've mentioned before, is still fighting financial aid- no water, no electricity at her house and she's still trying to get her degree.

It should feel ashamed for complaining, but I help her when I can- and I plowed my own road once upon a time.

But where does the money come from???


Simmons B. Buntin said...

All of the promotion I've had to do for Riverfall---the readings and such---have been funded out of my own pocket. I did receive a mini-travel grant from our local arts council for AWP this March, though: $500, which definitely helps. But I'm sharing a room, to cut costs there, as well.

I think those who host readings---like the UA Poetry Center here in Tucson---have funding for those they invite, and pay their travel, room/board, etc.

Otherwise, when you do find the magical pot of gold, don't forget your little poet-blogger friends like me.... ;~)

shann said...

I'm looking all the time- I spent almost all of my prize from Poesia on local poetry events and students (prizes, books, that kind of thing) so I can assure you if and when I find that poetic pot (of gold, that is) I will share, share, share!

T.S. said...

Funny you should mention those frustrations. Back when I left the corporate world for writing, I wanted to be a screenwriter. In 2000, I wrote a script. Over the next two years, I wrote two more, including one I entered into Project Greenlight. I once wrote a 104-script in two days while on vacation. In 2004, I was paid a decent sum to write a script for someone, but I'm not happy with it (looong story there).

So, to fall asleep on Monday, Tuesday and last night, I read the scripts I wrote in 2002, and the 60-page unfinished rewrite of the one that bounced out of Project Greenlight. And now, I think of the writer I've become (much because of poetry), and I have confidence that I can, as Charles Bukowski says, "return to the machine gun," only with confidence, an active, not passive voice, and get those things done.

And if that little dream comes true, I'll quit my day job and invite all of you to be my entourage.

I can dream, can't I? Especially when the dream is about work.

Reb said...

Hey, I originally read this post in my RSS feed and didn't realize you were linking to ME!

Well, there are many answers to your question.

Where does the money come from? My savings from when I had a corporate job and my husband's salary (I'm not going to lie, it's a good salary). I have some credit card debt too. Actually, a bit more now that I've started No Tell Books. My goal for the Bedside Guide is to break even by the end of the year -- probably won't happen (I made some poor financial decisions/mistakes, but it's my first book and I'm learning).

I probably have more opportunities than most poets -- that's true. I'm not loaded, but I'm not living hand to mouth either. I have a very supportive husband and some key supportive family members. I can go to AWP to promote the Bedside Guide because my husband is able to work from home this week and watch our son. I can afford to go because I have room on my credit card to charge an airline ticket and hotel and will be able to pay off the debt I incur over the next few months. It is my hope that I can defray some of these costs by selling lots of books (and writing off my expenses on my taxes).

I may not always be in this position -- so I take advantage of situations when I'm able. Having teenage parents and moving in with my grandparents after my parent's divorced -- I grew up longing for the financial security and material items I never had. To some degree it has made me a "climber" from a very young age -- a mixed blessing of good and bad.

Reb said...

p.s. I've never been on a cruise. I get horribly sea sick!