Weather Report From Deep Inside the Family*

Today at The Billfold, I explore the financial realities and family politics of Millennials and moving home. In poem form! Read it here.

“Fog again
among other things.
Yesterday’s exhausted moon
shivered at morning’s edge…”

The Billfold, if you’re not a reader already, “aims to do away with the misbelief that talking about difficult money issues is uncomfortable, and create a space to have an honest conversation about how we save, spend and repay our debts.” As long as you’re there, check out this piece,
which speaks directly to experiences both like and unlike those explored in my own contribution.

Another great thing about The Billfold: they pay their writers. This piece is the first one I’ve been paid for since I wrote this essay on emotional independence for The Yearbook Office in 2014.** Since we’re talking about money today, I thought I’d disclose that, and celebrate!

I know that money can be a touchy subject in the writing community. It’s complicated. If you have thoughts, I’m here for that discussion. One of my personal writing goals this year is to apply primarily to publications that pay contributors and/or offer print editions.*** So I’m pleased to be celebrating an early positive result!

Recently, I read the Emily books for the first time. (I am a long-time L.M. Montgomery fan, but somehow I missed these in adolescence.) Emily is, among other things (but more than any other thing), a writer, and one arc the books follow is her attempts to contribute financially to her family and her future via poetry, fiction, and a little bit of reporting.

The books aren’t about this, precisely, but the through-line of finance absolutely fascinated me. Partly this is because Emily is navigating some pretty heavy gender and social roles to make her own way. (It’s the early 1900s.****) And partly because of how completely she succeeds at getting paid for her creative work, even early on.

She’s paid $2 here, $10 there, and they add up. (Don’t forget the conversion factor from 19XX Canadian dollars.) Not all publications can pay her directly, but those that can’t instead offer to pay in goods – for example, $X worth of seeds from a garden catalog, which, when you’re growing a lot of your own food, is no minor contribution to household expenses.

I got halfway through writing more, then remembered there’s already a more nuanced and interesting short piece on the subject right here, at — you guessed it — The Billfold. The author of that piece, Nicole Dieker, writes a lot of smart things about money and creative work; if you’re intrigued, please go follow her blog.

This picture is called Wolf Moon Morning. This is a big strong beast of a
January full moon, so…not relevant to this discussion in any way. Except fog!

*Not my family. Go read the piece; I’ll explain.

**I should clarify. This is the first time I have been paid for writing what I want to write since 2014. I also work as a content writer, and you bet I get paid for that.

***With exceptions. I have some soft-spot publications that can’t pay and aren’t print, but I just love being part of them.

****This isn’t a blanket statement about “how things were back then” or how 
they’re so much better today. That’s…complicated. This is just context.

Read another poem about family, finance, and home from a millennial POV

Can’t get enough California? Neither can I. Read this.

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