“That’s a lot of money, Martha Ann.”

Thanks to the miracle of the inter webs, I listen to a Chicago radio station. Through the winter they play REAL albums on Fridays which is great. They also introduced me to my second favorite song , “Home of the Brave” by the Nails.


“It’s 1983 on XRT Saturday morning flashbacks.”

The song comes up. Ouch. Sometimes Mohammed’s Radio hits a nerve.

In my list of worst years of my life, 1983 is right up there. I came back from a year teaching in China late that August — about now (yeah yeah I know it’s September. Split hairs will you…) and tried to negotiate a place for myself in the Great American West which I had left in the first place because I hadn’t found a place for myself in the aforementioned Great American West. Whether or not you can go home again remains an open question, but I know for sure you can absolutely return to alienation.

I loved China and didn’t want to come back, but my marriage seemed important. It wasn’t. It wasn’t working, remained not working for the ensuing decade, and staying in China would have been an easier way out than the one that happened ten years later. My brother’s life went rapidly south soon after we returned to Colorado (no cause and effect there). It was a real nightmare and even my little niece was in danger. I came back to that. The ONLY good thing about that winter was Denver got an absurd amount of snow. The next summer saw us moving to California. Serenity remained elusive. I continued yearning for China for a long long long long time, I think until a few years ago I googled my Chinese home town and saw that it was gone and there was no way to go back.

So here I am in Monte Vista, Colorado, YEARS later. A few of my heart and brain cells are still missing China, but a whole lifetime has filled the interval. I’m sitting at my table finishing my coffee. Bear’s chewing a rawhide pencil. I give Teddy my empty coffee cup to clean. I’m trying to write this blog post and feeling intimidated at the reality that I’ve paid $100 to write this blog every day. Tracy (Untidy Mind) suggested I think of it as $2/day and that’s a good idea, but seriously, I’m not saying much here. I have 1900 blog posts up. I’ve deleted hundreds. How am I NOT saying the same thing over and over????

The last two posts I wrote, I deleted. They didn’t seem worth $100/year.

I guess I’ll see how it goes until next year…


26 thoughts on ““That’s a lot of money, Martha Ann.”

  1. When poet William Stafford was asked what he does when nothing is really happening on the page. His answer: “I lower my expectations.” This has become my writing philosophy. It’s simply doing it that’s important: daily writing. The hundred bucks? That’ll work itself out.

    • I don’t worry about nothing happening on the page. It’s that paying $100 to write basically nothing (which I would do anyway) seems kind of absurd. BUT the other side of this is the community which is a good reason to continue. I’m giving it until next August and then we’ll see what I do. 🙂

      • Excellent plan, methinks. I’ve stayed with the free version of my narble.blog. I don’t post every day. I’m lucky if I post every week. I’m supposed to be working on my second novel. Lately, I’m lucky if I do that once a week. But, yeah, I do write something every day. I lower my expectations a lot. 🙂

  2. That is the problem when you start thinking about putting a monetary value on your words – you get worried that the words aren’t “worth the money”. Perhaps it isn’t the cost of the blog. Maybe the value is not yours to assess. A word that you think less than a penny’s worth is the word that starts another on a grand adventure or turns them from self-harm. Perhaps they see a photo and their soul catches fire for nature or photography or even the feel of the wind on their face. What is the price of that? I suggest that you fling your words into the universe via WP and let then rain on us in abundance. Let us soak them in and feel the benefit…

  3. Since I retired, I spend $0 on clothes, shoes, jewellry and make-up. This $100 is the most I spend on anything (except maybe cat food). I think it balances out.

    • I’ve been grateful to you once for that. 🙂 But you don’t need to send me those two. One’s just more man-hating PTSD (sorry, it’s not you, it’s me… ha ha ha) and the other? I don’t even remember what that was…

  4. I think I had just sent a comment when you took down that second post. Whoosh! It was gone (did I accidentally torpedo Martha’s blog? Egad!!). I am glad to see you are still here. Putting a monetary value on writing can complicate everything. Writing should be fun first and foremost. I believe our stories are important – and many are priceless in one way or the other. Even if to entertain ourselves (for $100 per year that’s a bargain). I really enjoy yours (especially new music, like in that post 😁 ). Even if we say the same things over and over, it may slip our minds and be new again. That’s my thought. ❤️

  5. We may repeat ourselves, but it is always different. No matter how often you read something, you always take something new away from it, at least that’s what I find. The main thing is to enjoy the writing and I think you are right, there is a sense of community which is rather important.

  6. You are a writer. Yes, you are! You’re also also a teacher and I learn a lot from you here. You make me smile too. Also, your posts always generate a gazillion ideas for me. Ahem, perhaps I should write those down. Speaking of which, I have such a bad memory, I wouldn’t know if you repeat yourself. Glad you are sticking around for the time being. Hopefully there will be skiing adventures to write about this year.

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