take stock of your words, damnit.

16 October 2012 § Leave a comment

wordstock, last weekend’s Portland literary festival during which I was introduced to the poetry scene in my new town, filled me with equal parts inspiration and dread at my current exploit: learning to write professionally. I would love to be paid to write what I love. So would everyone who writes, and if they can earn paychecks too, awesome. I want to be one of them.

Once upon a time, I said that I wanted to be a world traveler. Now I can say that I’ve needed my passport regularly for a while. Yay. Check. Time to do something new and difficult.

I saw the festival as opportunity – to spend money on books, attend workshops, and meet other socially awkward writers in hide-and-seek games in which we were both happy to have tables and context between us, for why talk? We’d rather have our noses in books anyway, coming up for air only look at cute bookworms (and even then, perhaps air isn’t that important anyway). A chance also to redeem myself for skipping out on the Evergreen College program, and to forgive myself for failing to impress the reader with my Hawthorne Fellowship application.

It turns out writing is a popular activity in Portland, up there with collecting records and asking for spare change. It didn’t occur to me that many of these writers teach also – in fact, there were no less than six(!) creative non-fiction classes this autumn. So, for two and a half tanks of gas and an ice cream cone from Salt & Straw, I signed up for one that began three weeks ago.

Who knows where it will take me – toward the tree story I thought of half an hour ago, or toward the NaNoWriMo challenge I’m about to undertake. Perhaps I’ll take the slam poetry scene here more seriously, and put my energy there. None of which will earn me money, but that’s not really the point, is it?

Idea: can we have a happiness tax, with which people who are not happy pay into a pool that is dispersed to those who do what they love? This would be a great loophole tax to the 1%, the sad republicans, nihilists, and salespeople. Support the happiness tax, and pay starving artists in kale salads and goat cheese.

Anyway. I wanted to write something before my first class, and now I have. I’m to report to class in 38 minutes, and I still have to figure out where to go.


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