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