"I feel very rich when I have time to write and very poor when I get a regular paycheck and no time to work at my real work." ~ Natalie Goldberg
In Muses Like Moonlight, my first collection of poetry and essays on writing, I wrote… Who can I bill for the 8 hours it took me to research and write this commentary?” I asked my husband, Joe, as I slapped a stack of paper on the kitchen table. I had just emerged from the computer room, which was beginning to feel like a dungeon. I complained to my brothers and sisters – via our email group link – that I had carpal tunnel of the body. After 4 more hours, I told them I had computer chair “bedsores.
Not only am I not going to get paid, but nobody cleaned the kitchen while I was working!” I added. Joe looked up calmly from the book he was reading. He wasn’t thrown off guard by my loud display because he knew that, for all my complaining, I was exhilarated by my accomplishment and glad that I was finally done.
The essay happily concludes like this:
My commentary (Voting Machine Voodoo) was published at COMMONDREAMS.ORG on the evening of the day I submitted it. The next morning I went to my computer to check my email and found the following: This is by far the best article I have read to date related to the voting machine fiasco. Thank you for using your obviously superior research skills and brilliant writing techniques to bring us into the light of truth. Congratulations!!!
As the day went on, more responses poured in… Excellent! Thank you for including references… and… I have a political radio talk show…Would you be willing to do a 15 minute interview on air?
I printed out a few of the emails that the commentary had generated to show to my husband. When I did, he not only looked up from whatever he was doing, but he physically got up to see what the excitement was about. After reading, he looked at me, smiling, and announced, “YOU JUST GOT PAID!”
The commentary was picked up by a dozen other internet sites. It was published in the Roanoke Times newspaper (December 12, 03) and the New River Free Press. I did the radio interview and got to plug my website. Hey, maybe I got overpaid.
Note: originally posted on looseleafnotes.com on March 31, 2005