Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I am thinking a lot about money this morning. It's weird to say that, because it's a useless thing, and has nothing to do with art or family or anything, and I don't enjoy thinking about it, but it certainly has everything to do with anything I'm doing right now because work ought to lead to money and families struggle without it and  many good things can be made to happen with money. I don't like to think about it, but I'm thinking about it a lot.

Money money money. It's pouring through my head this morning. I'm thinking about money. I'm thinking about how to make more money, or if anyone should bother making more money. It is the sort of thing that happens, I guess, less than two weeks from your own wedding.

It isn't just me anymore. I can't just be a starving artist and be happy with the work, because I'm asking someone else to starve. I mean, I haven't been a starving artist for a while, but I certainly haven't ever been somewhere where I don't think about money when I work, and I don't have to do things I don't want to do for money. I'll have to do more of the things I don't like for the money. Always for the money. Because I have more responsibilities, and making money is the only way I know how to address them.

The most important thing has always been the idea, not the units sold. Science texts and journals innovate and innovate and innovate and change the world and build a better world and the readership of the journals and texts are strictly professional. Never expect a nitty-gritty physics tome about gravity's relationship to jet propulsion or somesuch to be hot off the presses, bestselling, celebrity star. Hot off the presses best-sellers tend to change society very little. At best, they tend to open a dialog about a controversial subject. At worst, they reflect the preconceived notion of the mainstream back upon itself. We should be writing ideas. Better to change the world with your idea than to sell the world the ideas it already has. Exceptions always, but...

But, money...

I write flags, not books. People who are predisposed to liking my books like my books. We are fellow citizens in this kingdom of the mind. Rally to my ideas, as I rally to the other ideas like mine. We rally. We push these ideas out into the physical world, all together, into the sea of culture with our books before us like stepping stones and shields and flags and the wood that makes our boats.

We are tract scribblers. We are pamphleteers disguised as prophets, or prophets disguised as pamphleteers. What use to us a dollar? What use a Euro? This is a Revolution or perhaps it is God's work. Commandeer as you go, or God will provide, or something. You aren't on the street, yet. It doesn't matter where you are, if the work continues, and it is good work - righteous work.

Yet, the work is not always enough to still the naked heart. There is more to life than just the revolution. What will we do if we ever win and people treat each other with empathy and bloody be kind to each other? What happens to us, then?

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise, right? Wealth is in a strange place, Mr. Franklin, sandwiched as it is between health and wisdom. But, I know wealth can buy good health. I've seen that. It always could. Could wealth also buy wisdom? Do we believe it does, deep down? Do we listen to the rich man more than the man who has worked every day of his life, to get some of that wisdom that can lead us to wealth? Do we really, secretly believe that?

I'll admit it. There's a part of me that is a subconscious part of me that hears the words of a successful man and assumes the words he speaks matter more than the words of his assistant. The assistant, though, if I were to rationally estimate, is probably the wiser. That's certainly been what I have experienced in life, talking to rich man and the people who work for them.

The work continues. It is, I think, a good work.

I'm thinking about money a lot, today.

I'm thinking about piling all my books into a trailer and driving to a new city, far away from here, where life will start up anew.

No comments: