Do we really have to earn a living?

The point of my Berger quote, above, is that artists (yes, writers are artists) have for many centuries suffered for their work. Except for the fortunate few, you either write stuff that makes money but which you don’t like writing, or you write stuff you do like writing but which doesn’t make money.

You either have a day job that sucks at your soul and blots up all your writing time, or you find a way of living that requires less money. Thoreau built a hut in Emerson’s backyard. We (the familial, not the editorial) built our own house in a (then) cheap rural area, raise most of our own food, heat with wood cut from our property, and shop at Goodwill. That reduced need for income has allowed us to live the past 17 years off earnings from freelance writing and a nonsalaried literary magazine-editing gig. We live at least as well now as when I acquired books for a Fortune 500 publisher, on less than a third the inflation-adjusted money. And I have time for writing interesting stuff beyond rejection letters and cover copy and catalog copy and briefs to the brain-dead Ed Board.

If you really want time to write, you find a way to make it work. Living is a dollar-and-cents business, with an income column and an expense column. It’s not easy boosting income, but paring expenses? Duck soup (literally, last weekend).

If your not earning a living for yourself, someone, somewhere, is breaking their back to earn it for you.

In America we already have a system for those. It is called Welfare.

Me personally I like the old saying “Carry your own weight” because why should I work hard while someone else just sits around eating, drinking, and basically wasting resources doing nothing but theorizing different ways they could have other people do all the work while they sit around living off other people like a parasite would. How else are they going to pay their bills? Who decides who gets to go do all the work while the others sit around and doing nothing but consume?

Its not really about earning a living but rather its are you responsible enough to support yourself through your own means or do you depend on others to carry that burden and responsibility for you?

Oh wait. I found a program that actually allows you to not earna living or do anything except go to school and do squat. … -pr,18092/

I admit having earned a grant from the university. Not much (just enough for half the room’s rental), but in any cases public funds that someone had to produce. I try not to feel too guilty, by thinking that other European countries give much higher grants to their students, and this is nothing compared to how much my country stole me for undue taxes.

Also, I know I did more than I was asked to do while in the program. But thinking to the average student sent abroad, I fear I have to admit that The Onion’s piece is not far from reality. Most often students think that studying abroad is the equivalent of partying, and just follow a couple courses to reach the minimum rating and have time enough to dangle around.

I’ve been at my Alma Mater, one day, while the teachers decided to go on strike, because of the foreign students of the nearby residence were not letting them sleep at night during exam’s time. More than a matter of good education, it was starting to become a matter of public order.

This does not mean the principle is wrong. Countries with more graduates are also the fastest growing ones. Sending young people abroad to explore the world and open their mind is a collective investment, not a waste of money. Doing all the possible to force students to study is another matter. Capitalizing on what they learnt while abroad is another matter yet.


I think foreign students should come to a small community college here in the deep south. Where they can learn life changing lessons like:

“Paddle Faster I hear Banjos”
“My Diddy is home better run fast”
Follow up course to My Diddy is home - “Better hope my Diddy or brothers catch you first, Momma’s got out her shotgun”

“How to survive on Macaroni and Cheese”
“How to make Sweet Tea” (Fur on the teeth test)
“How to skin what you shoot”
“Road Kill Fillet”

“How to load and shoot a gun”
Follow up course - “How to out shoot Grandma”
“Tracking down your sisters lover”
“4 Dogs is not enough”

“Duct tape is the answer”
“How to convert a semi-auto to a full auto”
“How to use dynamite for stump removal”
“How to fix a truck, tractor, or anything that takes gas or diesel”

“How Beau Watch This!”
“Fixin To”
“How to use earings as bait lures”
“How to play the banjo”
“Moonshine makes ugly people look good!”
“Beer Can Art”

This bloke doesn`t like students, either. :smiling_imp:


If I’m not wrong, Kerouac did something like that in a period of his life.

I did look for a place as a night guardian, but with no luck. The last position I asked for (a bit more than one year ago) was for a hotel on top of the nearby promontory*. They took someone else, and this one is not very happy to be left alone by night in that solitary and spectral place. Maybe we are facing a Shining-like situation?

Most guardians spend their time watching TV. I would be more than happy to have a position like that, and spend my time in a slightly different way.


  • (The promontory: a place where I spent a lot of time in my life. A shiny place with the tints of the Mediterranean Sea in summer, or a somber, blue-greenish tonality in winter. I can be sure I heard voices with nobody else around there, while walking in the woods. I know of a presence following my steps. I’m sure I heard a thousand small steps around me on the path to the ‘passage of the wolf’.
    A place with a thousand stories, some of which found in the tales about the Adriatic pirates, who had one of their refuges here. Others told by the children lost for days and returned back with not the minimal hint of wound or malnutrition. And then, those told by the winds meeting here, on top of the hill, right at the monastry trasnformed to a hotel, where in winter only the winds, the fog and me meet to tell the stories of the sea and the plan at which we can look down from the remains of the ancient monastry.)

that new typewriter mode could really help…

[code]All work and no play makes Paolo a dull boy.

All work and NO play makes Paolo a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Paolo a dullboy.

All Work and no Play ma es Paolo a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Paolo a dull boy.

All WORK and no play makes Paolo a dull boy.

Could be fun!! :smiley: :smiley:

No chance Cj. Paolo has the heart and soul of a poet. He could come across the skeleton of a decaying oak leaf, and turn it into a tale of triumph over adversity, in the slums of Manchester, during the the early years of the Industrial Revolution.
Aint no Jack in our paolo. :wink:

Paolo, it sounds as though you have the beginnings of a story there in your words about the promontory.

KL, yes, you are right. In fact, I tried to draft a synopsis between history and magic realism. It seems to work. Now, I just need some time to develp it into a tale… (Let’s try with the ‘one-piece-at-a-time’ solution, and see if it really works…)