Principles

I’m taking back my writing time.

I wish I could say this meant I’d received a humongous whack of money somehow, allowing me to leave my wage-slavery, but it doesn’t. What I have received is a (relatively) small amount that gives me a safety net. I haven’t had a nest egg ever in my life; most people live paycheque to paycheque, and I’ve been in that camp, at least when I’ve had a paycheque. Living on art, as I’m sure I’ve said before, can be much less secure. There have been times in my life when I’ve felt I was tap-dancing on the financial catastrophe curve.

For the first time, then, my cookie tin and penny jar are not security necessities. This has allowed me to make a decision that I’m sure I could have made before, but lacked the confidence to do.

I’ve decided that I’m not going to do drudge writing for money any more. I like writing for the Sault Star, mainly because I like my editor, Jeffrey Ougler, and also Brian Kelly, who fills in for Jeffrey on the rare occasions that Jeffrey takes a vacation. I also like my poet-for-hire gigs, and when I get an idea for an article I could pitch to another publication, I like doing that, too. That’s what I’m going to do from here on.

I’ve been using my writing time for editing (for hire), and I’ll be quitting that, too. I’ve been too long away from Kiar’s world, and the last novel is calling me. I also have a lengthening list of novel ideas for after I’m done with the world of The Swan Harp, and I’m not getting any younger. A year or two ago the writing money made a big difference in the quality of our lives, but as the debt load goes down, it’s less and less important. Writing the stories I have to tell is something only I can do.

I was dismayed to take stock a couple of weeks ago and find how much of what I was doing with my life was disagreeable to me, in whole or in part. I know I have to do some disagreeable stuff, at least until I teach Smudge to shovel her own litter box. They tell me it builds character, although I think some of my friends might say I’m quite enough of a character, thank you.

I’m also very much aware that my life is privileged. I’m warm and fed, my husband loves me (AND does dishes!), and I can do art, even if I can’t do it all the time. I have enough to live on. I don’t, and won’t, want for necessities in the forseeable future. The rest is luxuries, and maybe I’ll just have to pick and choose a bit among them. So be it.

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