Tuesday, September 6, 2011

For The Love of Money

In my thirty eight, nearly thirty-nine years on this earth, I've had a very eclectic assortment of paying gigs. Some I've done for fun others purely for the money.

As a young kid of twelve or thirteen my buddies and I raised cash by dumpster diving. We'd gather aluminum cans from the various trash cans that lined the alleys and then ride our bikes to the closest recycling center. Generally we blew that money on fireworks or trips to the arcade.

Then Nintendo came out and pretty much that same group of friends went together with our can money to buy spray paint and a pack of stencils. Nowadays we wouldn't be able to even buy the paint on our own. Painting address numbers on curbs bought not only my first Nintendo but Playstation as well.

I've trapped and shot coyotes, bobcats and other fur bearing critters for cash. 

The first real job came in high school when I went to work for Albertson's grocery store. But I quit only a few weeks in because they wouldn't let me off to attend a pig show. My senior year alone I earned better than 25,000 dollars showing pigs so I'm going to say I made the right decision. I wouldn't make that much money again until I went to work for the Postal Service.

For most of my high school years, I worked at the feedstore. It was the job that made me the person I am today. It was the job that inspired The Feedstore Chronicles which now counts as a paying gig in itself.

From the feedstore, I went to the Post Office where I still am today, but alongside my daily shores of ensuring the mail gets to its destination I have padded my income with a variety of gigs.

I reffed high school football for a number of years. I played both Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny at a shopping mall. I sold Kirby vacuum cleaners (the worst job I ever had). I mowed lawns. I hauled hay.

These days I write stories. Stories often inspired by experiences from all these other jobs. Stories that I hope are richer than most of the paychecks I've cashed.

I still consider myself a storyteller first and a writer second. For years now I've fought hard to reconcile the two, perhaps too hard as sometimes I let the mechanics of writing derail the storytelling train.

In life happiness comes to those who realize who and what they are. To those who embrace their strengths rather than run from them. I'm trying to do that for myself these days. That is not to say I don't strive to be a better writer with every article I read, workshop I attend, or piece that I write, but at the same time I am going to trust myself, take more chances, tell the stories I want to tell.

I hope y'all will enjoy them. 


Deanna said...

Good for you! I struggle being true to myself in my blog. When I first started writing, only strangers read it. I felt a sense of freedom. Then family and friends slowly became aware of its existence. Now I find myself tiptoing around, not wanting to offend anyone. It is a fine line a writer walks sometimes.

I'm looking forward to reading more. At least your dumpster diving days are behind you! $25,00 showing pigs? Seriously? Wow!

Charles Gramlich said...

I think readers want a real voice, not just a collection of techniques, although developing some good techniques can help sculpt your voice.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Your last paragraph is a ringing manifesto! Go for it!

And P.S., you are one resourceful guy. Good money in pig shows -- who knew?

Old Kitty said...

Hooorah!!! Glad you are not only embracing your storytelling self but grabbing it with both hands and yanking it out for all the world to see!!! :-)

Take care

G. B. Miller said...

Good for you for staying true to your voice.

Took me a long time to find my voice for my blog, and its taking me even longer to take that voice and transplant it to my writing. For the most part it has been a miss, but I do have a couple of exceptions.

In any event, congrats once again for suceeding while staying true to yourself.

Beth said...

I do and will enjoy them!
Stay true to yourself. Excellent advice for all of us.