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.