It's funny. Nearly every week or so I get a phone call or perhaps an e-mail from a newspaper, a magazine, someone asking me to write for them on a weekly basis - without pay. Hello! Who in their right mind would write for anyone on a professional basis and not be paid? Well, obviously someone willing to sacrifice everything they needed in order to get exposure - but isn't that what these blogs are for? I don't get paid to write here - and here's the great part, I don't have an editor to please! It's me. It's just me. I always please me - well, most of the time. There are those moments when even I get angry enough to take myself out back - I threaten, but I don't actually do it. I'm not really all that scared of me.
This week it was a publication from a school - often it is. Being a professor of English has a great deal to do with that- they wanted me to write something funny, maybe add a little contest, a little work, a little adventure for the students - - and like every other college in the country, they didn't want to pay a penny for it. Just a smile, a thank you, perhaps a cup of coffee for me when they bag me someday and force me to come talk to their alumni group because of all the praise I was getting for the column. Oh, or maybe they believe that the exposure, the thrill of the ink will be my motivation. Nope - pay my bills thank you. Then we'll talk.
I'm not mean. I'm really not mean at all - if I had millions in my bank - if I had even hundreds of thousands in my bank (make it easier on myself), I would write for free. I would give it away more often, it would be a privilege and an honor to be hustled around the globe to talk for nothing - but that just isn't in the plans today....maybe the Vanderbilts will adopt me and keep me, then I can - I'm good for a few soirees and I can always hold my own in a well orchestrated conversation, be it religious, political, analytical - doesn't matter. I'll even discuss quantum physics with an air of authority - you just have to know more than I do to catch me when I lie through my teeth, or say something completely off just to watch your reaction. (Now, that's mean, but it's in me - bred that way.)
OK, so maybe I look sweet and people think that I'll be an easy pushover -which by the way, here's the secret, if you're a kid, or this is for an Armed Forces paper - I'm probably going to say yes. I'd write for the Stars and Stripes for nothing. I'd write for Highlights, kid's readers, maybe even some animal magazines - but not for long. After my work became so popular, so demanding, so incredibly irresistible, that the readers demanded more, more - got to have more they'd beg - then, I'd have to get compensation. The Army would simply have to fly me out to Ft. Wainwright to see my baby, or I could go to Washington D.C. and get over to the two major military stations there - see the boys and girls I love so much - I'd do that. (Anyone out there with that sort of pull? Call me!) Other than that, I do have a price - not a high one, I've done so much for so long with so little that I can do just about anything with nothing nowadays - old saying, but a good one.
Just pay me, OK. You'd expect it. I expect it. I have a teenage monster to feed. I was suppose to be emancipating her, but she's decided to hang on a bit longer. Work got in the way - in that it wasn't fun like she thought it would be. She's back home and I'm picking up the slack on that one. You remember the day you thought about growing up and then changed your mind don't you? It was a great day - I crawled back in bed and slept a little longer that morning.