Tag Archives: writing

Earning money by writing

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It’s what all aspiring writers want to do, make money with their writing. But as I look at the possibilities it always feels like a lot of work with very little gain. Just this morning, I saw an ad on craigslist advertising for writers they could hire. They wanted a recent example of something I had written, and so I decided to write something just for them. I can write about anything, perhaps not intelligently, but enough to keep the reader’s attention. I do have things to say about a lot of issues, but do I have the discipline to produce x number of words to a strict deadline? I think so. I live in San Francisco and it is funny to me how many writers there are in this city. Whenever I tell someone I am a writer, they almost always say they are a writer as well. I have yet to meet a writer who makes their living writing.

Most of what I write nowadays is poetry. I write poetry because it comes easily to me, and a lot of people seem to like it. It has been a hobby of mine. But I really ought to be writing more, and get paid for doing it. I work as a sales associate at a clothing store, and it barely pays the bills. If I am talented, and have something to contribute, it is foolish to live in poverty if it is unnecessary. There are a lot of people just like me, talented and barely able to keep a roof over their heads.

So what do people want to read? I think they want to read something different from the usual things you find. We need writing that doesn’t nurture our worst instincts. We need writing that inspires people to live meaningful lives, and to find solutions to the many problems which plague us. Take the income disparity problem, for instance. I think the educated need to be educated. They have some crazy ideas. They seem to think that the poor deserve to be poor, and the rich deserve to have what they have. They fail to recognize how rigged the game is. Poverty destroys a vital resource. People who are in poverty become a liability because they are poor. If they could have enough to simply live unassisted by government, they could be in a position to contribute their abilities and talents. Instead they are written off. I have been shocked and appalled by the way poverty stricken people have been treated. They are treated like trash, as if they have no value whatsoever. I think this is distorted thinking.

The rich entrepreneurs need to ask a simple question: Who is going to buy their goods and services? When most of the population is struggling to survive, they are not going to be able to buy expensive meals or expensive products. Here in San Francisco, business relies on tourists. Most of the locals can only afford to live here, if they have some kind of government assistance. Families have moved away to the suburbs, or out of California altogether. A nation without a middle class is in trouble. I think our troubles began when corporations put their own interests ahead of the interests of our country. They destroyed our economy in pursuit of quick profits.

What is the answer to this problem? I am not an economist, but it seems to me that the average person in America needs to take back capitalism. Capitalism that is concentrated around the uppermost one percent is no longer capitalism, it is oligarchy. We need to stop giving our money to large corporations and begin supporting the small businessman. We can create our own economy which does not depend on government or big business to survive. Of course, this means trading convenience for freedom. It is much more awkward to create an alternative economy, than it is to simply consume as we always have. That lifestyle, however, keeps us stuck in poverty, dependent upon either government programs or a part time job at a pitiful wage. The best model would be for all of us to find ways of being entrepreneurial. Business doesn’t need to be the exclusive domain of the rich. It is for all of us.

Being paid to write is an example of this entrepreneurial spirit. If I have the talent and the discipline, I can do something about my circumstances. I don’t have to give up my dignity in order to get my government handout. I can find ways to support myself on my own terms. This little essay is just an introduction. I haven’t worked out all of the details of how this new economy would work, but a lot of people have. We can get into contact with one another and network.

Bernice

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This was the last version I did. I think I may like it best, because I added a few strokes to give her face more definition, as well as multiple filters to give it a sort of watercolor look. It still looks like a child’s painting, but a ten year old instead of a four year old. It’s a start, and crude as it is, Bernice does have some personality conveyed by this drawing, and that’s the idea, isn’t it?

I think I’ll call her Bernice. She is a very precise and earnest woman. Very serious. My jokes go right past her. She practices yoga diligently. This is the beginning of a character in search of a story. I have yet to draw THE character, the one that captures my heart and comes to life magically before me. But I will get there. She is out there somewhere waiting to be drawn.

Before judging me too harshly, please consider that this is one of the first drawings I have done with serious intent, in many many years, thirty at least. I need to get my skills back. Tonight I began drawing and it was absolutely horrible!!! I would rather have had my fingernails pulled out one by one than go through the agony of trying to draw and having it look like the efforts of a five year old child. But then I just gave up on it and just scribbled, and lo and behold, the very earnest features of Bernice emerged. She is 43 years old and believes in affirmations. She wrote me this one: “Every day in every way I find myself again. All my pleasures can come to pass in time. Give me patience in my endeavors.” You see? I am already giving Bernice her life in words. Now I need to put together a story. Bernice is a peripheral character, one of the main character’s friends. I may use myself or create someone else. I haven’t decided. But, at least I broke through my resistance to drawing. Considering that I sketched this in about ten minutes (I am so impatient!!!) I am rather happy with it, at least it works to some degree. I like the sloppy quality, I do my best work when I bypass my OCD tendency to want to draw very realistically. This is much more expressionistic, and I captured a very serious and earnest quality in Bernice. She is ‘concerned’. It shows in her face. But I can do better. This is just a start. This is the one drawing I felt I could share without embarrassment. This is so much harder than just using images I find on the net, but it is honest. It is completely my creation, and not a copy of a photograph. But, clearly, I need lots of practice. This whole project will be slow in coming together. I’ve got to put my story together. But, it is interesting how, when I became frustrated and gave up, Bernice appeared, and I already have a sense of who she is. The drawing is just a beginning. I need to bring her more fully to life.

I can’t wait to do more!!!, even though it is very hard work. It is hard to describe how I work, I just start scribbling and something begins to emerge. I can’t plan it, or I drive myself crazy. The more I draw, though, the better I will be. My fledgling attempts to write, back when I began my first blog, were equally amateurish. I will get better. I will get a lot better, if I just keep on drawing.

So here are some examples of what I did on Gimp (poor man’s Photoshop) after I scanned my drawing. I got some interesting results. I hope you enjoy, and perhaps my first baby steps in drawing will inspire other bloggers to illustrate their work as well.

This is the original drawing, done freehand on a pad, old school. I knocked it out in about ten minutes, tired and frustrated after an hour of absolutely horrible drawings. This isn’t a good drawing but it is a start. On some level it seems to work. Bernice is born. Hi Bernice!!
I used Gimp to add washes of color. This is really childlike, but it has it’s charm.
I used Enhance to create this very expressionistic version. I like it and I don’t. Just experimenting. I love just messing with the possibilities.
The Oilify feature gives my drawing the look of a watercolor. I sort of like it, but as I post these versions of Bernice I find that I actually like the original drawing the best in a lot of ways, because it looks fresh and spontaneous, because, guess what? it was.

So I learned a lot in a short time. I was surprised at how adept I was in the retouching to the drawing depicted in the final version of Bernice. In just a few seconds I instinctively knew what to do. It is still a poor drawing, but slowly but surely I am getting back in the game, and regaining a long lost talent. As I do more of it, my true abilities will reappear. But what a struggle! but I promise I won’t cut off my ear and send it to ‘you know who’.

In this beginning of the beginning of a new series yet to be named or plotted out, I am proud to say I am indebted only to myself and Gimp. There were no outside sources. It is very fitting that this is the 300th post on this blog. It is a positive culmination of my creative surge over this past year.

Try once again

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Try once again to get it right

Don’t just sit there feeling uptight

You aren’t the first one to feel this way

So suck in your chest and raise your chin

Tomorrow is another day

I will find new expressions

I will explore new realms

I will discover how to be loving

In a responsible less awkward less careless

thoughtful mindful way

I will

Try once again

and try once again

and again

Till all is right with myself

and the world

ADDICTION

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ADDICTION

I HATE THAT WORD WITH A PASSION BORN OF MY CONVICTION THAT I CAN PURSUE WHATEVER I WISH, WALK WHATEVER ROAD, WITHOUT FEAR. I AM A FREE MAN.

AND YET ADDICTION EXISTS. HOW DO I KNOW?

BECAUSE WHEN SOMETHING YOU LOVE SO DEARLY SICKENS YOU, WHEN YOU HATE YOURSELF AND WISH YOU COULD PUT THIS THING OUT OF YOUR MIND AND JUST LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN BEING, THEN YOU ARE ADDICTED. IT ISN’T HARD TO FIGURE OUT. IT SIMPLY ISN’T FUN ANYMORE. IT HAS BECOME A CHORE, IF SOMETHING HAS YOU BY THE BALLS IT IS AN ADDICTION. THAT SIMPLE.

WHAT TO DO??? I SAY IT IS A MISTAKE TO TRY TO CRUSH THE ADDICTION UNDERFOOT LIKE AN OBNOXIOUS BUG, BECAUSE ADDICTIONS HAVE AT THEIR CORE A TRUE NEED WHICH SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED, THAT NEED WILL FIND A WAY TO SATISFY ITSELF AND IT IS UP TO YOU TO FIND THE BEST WAY TO SATISFY THAT NEED. FIRST OF ALL YOU HAVE TO BE BRUTALLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND FEEL THE PAIN AND THE HURT, ALL THAT STUFF THAT DRIVES YOU INSANE, BECAUSE ADDICTION WORKS AS A ANESTHETIC, A SOOTHING SALVE TO CALM THOSE TURBULENT EMOTIONS WHICH THREATEN TO TEAR YOU APART. ANY ATTEMPT TO DESTROY AN ADDICTION BY BRUTE FORCE IS RISKY BECAUSE IT CAN SERIOUSLY BACKFIRE AND LEAVE YOU WORSE OFF THAN BEFORE.

YOU CAN SEE WHAT A BULLSHIT ARTIST I AM. I KNOW ALL ABOUT THIS SUBJECT. I KNOW WHAT TO DO AND I UNDERSTAND.

OR DO I?

I AM ADDICTED, BUT I DON’T HAVE TO BE. THIS FLIES IN THE FACE OF EVERYTHING ANY PSYCHOLOGIST WILL TELL YOU. THEY INSIST THAT YEARS OF THERAPY IS THE ONLY ANSWER OR A TWELVE STEP PROGRAM IS THE ONLY WAY TO WHIP AN ADDICTION.

I AM NOT GOING TO ARGUE WITH THAT. I AM ALSO NOT GOING TO ARGUE AGAINST THOSE WHO BELIEVE I CAN ONLY DEFEAT ADDICTION WITH THE POWER OF CHRIST. I AM ONLY SAYING THIS:

I AM ON A JOURNEY UNIQUE TO MYSELF AND ALL THE CHOICES I MAKE ARE MY OWN, I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEM. I TAKE ADDICTION AND I STAND IT ON IT’S HEAD. I TRANSMUTE IT INTO SOMETHING ELSE. AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH AND A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THINGS WORK. I AM CONDUCTING AN ONGOING EXPERIMENT WITH MYSELF AS THE GUINEA PIG. I CHOOSE TO STARE ADDICTION IN THE FACE AND DISCOVER IT’S TRUE NATURE. I AM BIGGER THAN ANY ADDICTION. I AM STRONGER. I PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO MYSELF AND SOMETIMES THAT IS A VERY PAINFUL THING TO DO, I MAY SUCCUMB
I MAY NOT SUCCEED BUT I REFUSE TO BE SHACKLED TO A BELIEF SYSTEM WHICH IS WORSE THAN ANY ADDICTION, AND IS IN FACT ANOTHER FORM OF SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE ADDICTION. I WOULD RATHER BE DEAD THAN HAVE MY THOUGHTS EMOTIONS AND EVERY ACTION TIGHTLY MONITORED BY A WELL MEANING BUT NEVERTHELESS TYRANNICAL CONTROL SYSTEM

PERHAPS I AM FULL OF SHIT.

IT WOULDN’T BE THE FIRST TIME

BUT IN ANY CASE THOSE ARE MY THOUGHTS SUCH AS THEY ARE REGARDING THIS DEMON LABELLED ADDICTON

I seek out those distant places where…

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I seek out those distant places where the air feels differently against my skin

I thought I might have seen you there

Lying naked in the sand grinning from ear to ear

Perhaps it was someone very like you

Speaking a different language

Wearing sandals instead of sensible shoes

I seek out those elegant faces with expressions that defy explanation

I imagine their thoughts hold a beauty unfamiliar

They smell of honey and ginger

I seek out the far corners where the dust settles

covering the discarded pamphlets

given out by a silly devil

I could walk through this strange but lovely land

searching for something wonderful

or weird and oddly disconcerting

I could search forever

Lose my direction and my sense

Yet someplace far away

 Is where I long to be

but I discovered one day that no matter how far away I go

I always end up here

I need a place

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I need a place

outside of the laws of time and space

where I don’t have to do anything

Don’t have to go to work

I need a place

Where I can kick back

and think it all through

where I can savor all that passes through my life

spend a few moments

of bliss

But the world has no patience

I have to pay attention

and stay engaged

In my imagination I retreat

to this place

where I can build a better world

and put together my own private museum

It’s TOO MUCH

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I can’t attend to all the life that surges ahead

All the desperation and everything that is said

It’s TOO MUCH for one little fellow to deal

I want to

I’d love to jump into the fire

And ride that wind

But I’m just one man

The world is moving at a dizzying speed

Toward the middle of the middle of the furthest extreme

I can feel it

I can see it

In between the sentences lies a seed

I work through my own little piece

In my own awkward fashion

While the universe goes crazy in some kind of topsy-turvy upside down reverse-action

it’s TOO MUCH for anyone to handle

it’s TOO MUCH