After graduating college, I pulled together a poetry tour of the East Coast with three friends. We couch-surfed and split small sums from homemade book sales and venue entry fees. Our biggest check—$2,000—came from working with a small city’s public library. That money made it possible for us to break even after a month on the road, but only just. It was a start, we thought.
Years later, one friend is in graduate school for archival science; another is in school to become a Unitarian Universalist minister; and the third works at cash-for-gold stand in the mall. I schedule appointments at the office of a moving company.
None of us have been able to rely on writing as a sole source of income. None of us have jobs in the arts that pay our rent. There was a time when this would have surprised me.
New York’s baby techy billionaires aren’t buying art even though they have money to buy art, and the Art People are not happy about that. (“I would expect these people to have more of a fondness for and interest in collecting art, because it’s New York … That’s why you live here. If you didn’t want to be exposed to the arts, go live in the Valley.”)