"Hell, I'm no whore!" I thought to myself. "Money is power, and once you startcharging, you have to sell your conscience to get it. And then there's the politicsof getting fame and fortune. I'd rather be free and become the greatest authorthe world will ever or never know - it's up to them - let them take it or leave it."Now that I am nearly flat broke, almost homeless, and looking an early death inthe face, my attitude has become a little bit more flexible! Not that I would writeneoconservative propaganda. Today I just heard about a New York journalist,some fellow named Fraser or Frazer, who got homeless people involved in aworkshop "to bring out the writer" in them. Some of them were saved from drugsand the like, and now a book is out or coming out -
Food for the Soul
. Well, Isacrificed the good life to become a writer; I do not drink or use drugs; I might beneeding a soup line any day now! Maybe I should write a book about that, called,'Food For Fools.' When love's for sale at my age, who will buy? Maybe it's too latefor me already. I may be a late bloomer, but I'm no Colonel Chicken, at least notyet - eating chicken is against my religion."What we need in this country is another WPA Writers Project to save sluts lestwe become whores or go down the tubes!" I told myself yesterday. "The Internetfreed us from the greedy political gatekeepers, but it does not make even the bestof us who need food and shelter a living! It's the same old story - you have tohave money to make money. You have to have money or a publisher with moneyto make a splash. Otherwise, you have to be very, very lucky and somehow get abreak."Writing is not the oldest profession in the world. Charging for it and hitting it big isa relatively recent phenomenon. Long ago, when books used to costs as much asa house to produce, an author was lucky to get a pittance for his work let alonenaked credit. Fame had to suffice to satisfy a writer's vanity even some time afterthe printing press was invented. The printers might pay something for an originalmanuscript by a famous author; but the author had to keep producing neweditions since other printers would start running copies of the first edition. Menof letters like Desiderius Erasmus had to literally beg patrons for their subsistence.There were no copyright laws, hence every writer considered it his duty to grabthe best ideas and claim them as his own. In fact, a large number of French wordswere stolen by Chaucer and now appear as good English.