How much is your soul worth?
Once, you would have said priceless,
but your employer has haggled it down to
fifteen - no, twelve - no, eight dollars an hour,
and no benefits.
Some days, the work is light. You earn less.
You feel worse.
You tried drinking,
but the hangovers made it impossible to earn enough money
to afford more alcohol
to get more hangovers.
You settle for a quarter bag of potato chips, a warm soda,
and reruns on a borrowed Netflix account.
That is your payoff for making it through the day.
Adulthood wasn’t supposed to feel so flat.
You’re doing what you love - what you thought you loved -
and that is the worst part.
(Besides the rent and the utilities and the walking to work
and the constant pain in places you’ve never has pain
and the sickening dread that it will get worse,
it will all get worse.)
You wipe your mouth with a diploma that has never
gotten you a second interview.
Your best friend hasn’t called in two weeks.
She is engaged,
and you’ve only met him once.
Today you re-wear your sweaty socks
because you just have enough quarters
for one load of laundry, and not until Thursday.
On Skype, your parents smile
and ask if you need anything.
The wrinkles around their eyes have deepened.
You swallow your tongue when they ask you
if you’re making it in the big city. Are you creating the art you’ve always dreamed of?
You pick at your comforter and tell them, of course you are.
You own the city.
In reality, the leather notebook that they gave you at graduation
sits unopened and empty in your dresser drawer,
beneath two filthy shirts
and underwear that you should have washed last week,
(but, you know, the quarters).
- I’m making it, you say. I’m making it,
and they smile at you, and you smile back,
and they say they are so proud.
NYC high school students: take free studio art classes at MoMA this spring! Make art, create community, meet artists, and explore new techniques and materials. No experience required. Applications are due Friday, January 8.
[Artist Jaimie Warren and a student in the 2015 In the Making program. Photo: Kaitlyn Stubbs]
The 2011 National Book Award finalists have been announced, and we’re proud to shout a hearty congratulations to 2008-2009 Cullman Center Fellows Deborah Baker, author of THE CONVERT, and Lauren Redniss, creator of RADIOACTIVE, for their nominations in the non-fiction category. Both artists researched their books while at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and we’re thrilled to share such wonderful news with everyone.
Even better news for all… Deborah Baker will be visiting the Library next Tuesday (10/18) to discuss her award-nominated book THE CONVERT with journalist Elizabeth Rubin. It’s a can’t-don’t-won’t miss event!
To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself.
Best-selling author Anne Rice, whose birthday is today. Check out one of her books from NYPL, or heed her advice, take a risk and give writing a try yourself - NYPL has many writing workshops (including one for kids on Oct. 13 at our Mulberry Street Library). Always check our website for upcoming programs!