Saturday, September 05, 2009

Class and Action

This morning, I’m influenced by Kelli's post “That Said …,” and from Steve Feller’s post, “Some Random Thoughts about Class and Being an Artist.”

I wonder what my parents must have thought about me going to graduate school back in 1995. I was 26, working in D.C. during the last recession, which seems like a blip on scale compared to this recession. I’m sure they were more concerned about me going to New York than continuing my education. I spent $35K on my two years at NYU, working a full time (yet sorely underpaid) job at Associated Press. It was, by far, the best time in my life. So for me, the money was well spent.

Even though I worked, I always felt poor in grad school, just like my fellow classmates. Being a college student in NYC is a double whammy. Of course, I wasn’t really poor, and I never starved or did without. But things were tight, and using credit cards didn’t help. Despite all of that, I was able to pay off my college loans in nine years. Also paid off my car around the same time, too.

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These days, I only spend money on necessities or things that I truly want. That gives me the freedom to save, cut my debt, and live a simpler life.

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What has made me the happiest and the most “wealthy” is doing what I love. Poetry is something I think I was born to do, more than anything else in my life—more than being a wife or mother. I have a talent for those things but I believe I was born to write.

This year, I've made $50 with my poetry. Good thing I'm not in it for the money.

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When I don’t write, that’s when I feel impoverished.

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I’ve managed to create an existence that actually allows me to use my MFA in my working life, to continually work on my craft, and be the best mother I can be. Now that's real wealth.

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The kids are spending time with their dad this Labor Day weekend, so I have a long to-do list before me. Writing new poems is at the top of the list.

2 comments:

Kells said...

Thanks for this follow-up.

I agree about writing poetry making us wealthy.

After quitting my corporate job, I have made a point to always put family and poetry first. I don't always get to buy the things I want, but I have time and to me, that is worth so much more.

Thank you for your thoughts on this!

Jessie Carty said...

I'm still working on these same things you discuss :)

I wish I had realized, much sooner, the trap that credit cards etc can do to you.

We live on much less now, than when I worked a corporate job, but we are all so much happier!

$50 for poetry--not a bad haul :) I pulled in $150 one year but once you take into consideration postage and all I'm sure I was still in the negative.

Great post!

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