Narcissit? Who me?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Is there any such trivial domestic issue more terrifying than that of running out of peanut butter?
It may not be for some people, when peanut butter is an essential and main ingredient in most of the life sustaining food you consume, it is especially detrimental. But, don't worry, it didn't happen to me. Although it was close. The jar was getting the the point where you really had to work to get a sufficient amount of peanut-y goodness out and into your belly. You know? When there is like a big hunk of it in the center and the sides have all been scrapped clean and then there is this, I wanna say curl because that is what it looks like, of peanut buuter right in the center of the jar and you have to move you knife at an impossible angle to get at it and, somehow, scoop it out. It take much more effort to peanut butter ratio, for this to be a deserving outlet for my time so I bought a whole new jar. My time, clearly, is too valuable to be spent getting the peanut butter out of the center of the jar.

Once I went to a talk at the University Commerce department with a friend of mine. The talk, which was about financial management and young people, was the first talk we have ever attended (and come to think of it, the only one since) But I really wanted to go. The speaker was a girl who had written a book about financial management, was young, and a commerce grad. She was very pretty, and I remember parts of the talk being really funny, but I also remember that I spaced out of a good deal of it. Mostly when she got to talking about GICs (Guaranteed Income Certificates) and Savings bonds. What I do recall her talking about was the passive income she was collecting from her book royalties. She said that most people survive on earned income, money you make when you go to work and produce things or do work, and are payed for it. Passive income is the money you are receiving from a source you do not actually put work into anymore. Like her book. She no longer had to go home and write her book and put out chapters every night. She had done it, and the thing was still earning her money. I thought this was the most romantic thing I had ever heard, and could be the moment (I don't actually remember there being just one) where I decided I wanted to write a book. The notion of something earning you money without having to put daily work into it was very attractive to someone like me, who is admittedly, not a hard worker, despite the way I was raised. But if I could do a whole bunch of work, work for which I was not compensated to begin with, that could end up giving me money afterwards, so I could spend time not working was like a "Do not pay for one full year" furniture event in reverse. Work now, get paid later. It was brilliant. It reminds me ( and should surprise no one ) of a Dorothy Parker quote in which she said she would prefer her money to come in "Hunks not littler drips." I wanted the same, but with little drips coming in for as long as I lived.

Now I must admit that the idea of writing a book simply for financial reasons, and more specifically completely delusional financial reasons, is not the most inspiring reason for a creative experience. But you have to understand exactly how broke I was. I was piss-poor at being a piss-poor student. My grand imagination had always fueled a bonfire of want and desire and I was sick of being consumed by flame. It worked out well, thinking about all the money that would undoubtedly come flooding my way when I finished my book was a real motivator. But writing crap is really easy (See: most of this blog) but it is much harder to actually get the damn thing published. So I have since resigned myself to publishing here, but I still think it would be so romantic to be paid to do this. And more importantly to have a passive income that would arrive without me really thinking about it. It reminds me of a story I read about children's book author Margaret Wise Brown, who treated every royalty check as a unexpected and welcome surprise. She treated each one like it was a present from someone far away. And she would also do crazy things with them. When she received her first check she bought all the flowers in a flower shop and filled her apartment with them and drank champagne and ate caviar. Again, a romantic idea, and one that doesn't boast financial responsibility, but I like the idea of it. I like the idea of that apartment full of flowers.

Heck, I would take any old apartment.

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