May 23rd, 2008


Moments in the Sun

Last night's attempt to supplement income through market research did not go well. Traffic made me late by about fifteen minutes and when I got there, an official looking woman told me I was much too late, and could not be used. "You were suppose to be here fifteen minutes early," she said, in that tone that suggested I'd been a bad child.

Just like every boss I ever had.

Now, I'm the first to admit that I don't react well to people telling me what to do. It doesn't really matter what the circumstance is, but if I get anyone with that attitude that I was bad, needed a scolding and whatever, it's kinda done then and there. There's really no excuse to treat an adult like a child, I figure. Still, this woman in particular, she had the cash I wanted, and she wouldn't be giving it over, and so I ended up back home, conscious of the fact that if you added up the money I was down this week, it came to a fair chunk. It was enough to make me think that this self employment gig was a bit a mistake, at least for the moments that I was feeling sorry for my cash flow, but I know there's good and bad moments in any job and I just rode it out. Of course, I've been riding it out all week. It's just that when you're running your own gig, when someone cancels, when you get sick, when some life shit comes up, the cash just drops off for that moment, which is different if you've got a nice salary job with holidays and sick pay and a retirement fund. That's pretty much the rub when it comes to being on your own, and you have to prepare for it: you got to put cash aside, you have to have a nice cushion between you and the time filling in the dole form, or hitting up friends for a little work, or family for a little loan. In every fee that you charge there's got to be the understanding within yourself that the cash you're getting for this one job isn't just for the week, but for the month, the year, and so on and so forth. If the car breaks down tomorrow, you better have the means to get it repaired, for example.

To be in that position is pretty simple, and just takes you being reasonable with you cash. A few months back, I think, there was a blog post going round that everyone linked about how to manage your money as an author, and it was full of fairly obvious pieces of advice such as 'Don't Blow All Your Money in a Week on Cocaine and Hookers, Because You Must Eat for the Year,' and so forth. Honestly, it surprised me that so many people thought it was insightful. But still, if you follow a kind of principle wherein you think about all the bad and horrible things that may befall you in the future first, so that you put aside a bit, and then think about all the neat things you can do now with what you got left over, you'll do okay. It's just that having someone else worry about that--such as bosses and accountants--is so much easier, and that is an attraction to having one of those jobs where you just get paid, come home, and do whatever. Shame the math on working eight or ten hours (including travel) doesn't add up for a day, hey? Work five days of that in a job yo don't care about, get two days off to do what you want.

Shitty deal, that.

Still, with all that said, I could've done with my eighty bucks last night, if for nothing else but cheap hookers.

Oh, and I've seen this around of late: apparently the Australian is busy telling people the average middle class wage is 150k a year.

Guess they didn't poll my neighbourhood.
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The Funeral, Ruined is Up for Free

A bit of free fiction today, since has posted 'The Funeral, Ruined,' to help promote Paper Cities.

This means you can read the whole thing here:

It was the weight that woke Linette. Her weight. The weight of herself.

The flat red sky above Issuer was waiting when she opened her eyes. Five hours before, when she had closed her eyes, it had been a dark, ugly brown-red: the middle of the night. Now it was the clear early morning red, and a thick, muggy warmth was seeping through her open window with the new light. There would be no rain today. Just the heat. Just the sweat. Just that uncomfortable, hot awareness of herself that both brought. The worse was Linette’s short, dark hair, dirty with sweat and ash. The ash that had come through the open window during the night. It had streaked her face and settled in her mouth and she could taste it, dry, burnt and unappealing in her gums. Her left arm, with its thick, straight scars across the forearm, felt heavy and ached; but it always ached. It was a dull, lazy ache in the heat, and a sharp, pointed pain in the cold, as if, with the latter, the brittle weather was digging into her fractured bone to snap it. Her feet, tangled at the bottom of her coarse, ash stained brown sheets, sweated uncomfortably, and her long, straight back could feel the sweaty outline of the bronze frame beneath the thin mattress that she lay on. There was no end to herself, Linette thought, and she would never be able to sleep again, so aware of it was she.

This is one of my Red Sun stories, the world in which the current novel is set. The novel proceeds nicely, and I have a few more days left till I have the whole thing done, and then three or four weeks or rewriting the final bits, fixing up the changes I made and making it pretty, basically. If you're curious, 'The Funeral, Ruined' is the story where I finally nailed the braiding style I wanted for the book down, so you can have a read of this to get a pretty decent taste of how that should work in a novel.