It’s official. I got the check in the mail. I am a thousandaire writer. If you don’t know the term, which maybe my friend Hank invented? Thousandaire is like millionaire, only in thousands. And as of today it is true: writing has made me a thousandaire. In fact, I have made $1260 in my writing career so far.
Five hundred for second place a poetry prize in college, where my friend Cara won first and this nice boy named Sam won third and his poem was about a chicken and mine was about a flower, but of course it wasn’t actually about a flower, it was about immanence versus transcendence, because everything I thought about at that point was, which is to say it was about sex and God and a dead saint.
Seventy five for three poems in the Bellingham Review, which helped save the winter of 2006 from being sadder than it had to be.
Twenty five for being a visiting writer in a Waldorf High School English class.
One hundred and fifty for a poem on a placard on a Seattle bus, in which I hoped for small things.
And then, today, five hundred and ten for an essay on stumps in High Country News.
This does not include the twenty they say is coming from this essay in Contrary.
So, young woman in that Waldorf class who raised her hand and said so politely, “I hear there is no money in the arts,” to which I had no great reply, though there is also no money in loving people or parenting or diving into clear water or eating gelato or any of so many things that make being human pretty awesome — young woman, look here. There is money in the arts. And this is only the beginning.