Earlier this year I opened an account with the online journaling site Penzu. Very cool site, although you really kind of need the paid subscription to access some of the neat features. The one thing I really like–and that is included in the free version–is the daily writing prompts. You can have them emailed to you daily (your choice of morning, noon, or evening). The title of this post is the prompt I received today. And while I’ve totally failed to write in this journal daily as I had planned (a failure so epic that this is the first time I’m even writing “about” one of these prompts even though they’ve been delivered to my Gmail every day for the last FIVE months), this one stood out to me in a way that none of the Woody Allen, Winston Churchill and Groucho Marx quotes that preceded today’s ever did. Why?
This is a question that I ask myself daily and, on good days, try to answer because, basically, I have no money and nothing I “have” to do. I finished my M.A. in English at the end of April and then moved from Missouri to Massachusetts to share an apartment with my girlfriend. I was able to land a part-time job tutoring a few weeks before making the move. Since my plan was to take the year to apply for PhD programs rather than try to get an entry-level job and start a career, I thought I was all set for a laid-back year of deep thinking and writing in the Liberal-Paradise City-Hippie Haven-Intellectual Hub that was “Noho.”
No go. No students means no tutoring, no tutoring means no $, no $ means–what?
After a 1.5-month stint in retail, selling used DVDs and CDs and lots of gimmicky do-dads that were the epitome of (in-)discretionary spending, making an hourly wage disconcertingly close to what I got paid for basically the same job at 16, I had less of a life and more of a credit card bill. Once I broke even, I broke out.
Now I have no money, what will I do?
The primary and ongoing task is to find creative and productive ways to answer the question. Which begs some more questions: How many answers are there? Is there a “right” one? Is this even a question worth answering? How deep does this Zizekian hole go?
So after throwing all of this at you at once, I’m going to cop out and just let it all sit for a while, then try to tackle it one piece at a time.
Does that answer your question?
For the past several years, since I first started using RSS in general and Google Reader in particular, I’ve had the continually awesome experience of reading just insane amounts of information online. Everything is “Oh, I want to learn about that!” Click. Subscribe. Read. Then be ridiculously over-proud of myself for now knowing whatever the hell it is I just learned, but only ever just letting it basically rot in the back of my dome.
But for all my criticisms, both constructive and not, I never actually write anything about it. I just complain. Constantly. So I’m really as bad as the non-contributing, sarcastic ironists that I’m griping about being non-contributing, sarcastic and ironic.
So for every X number of articles/posts that I read on reddit or Google Reader, I will write an article/post/comment myself. What is a good number for X in this equation? I’m not sure yet, so please offer your suggestions in the comments. Is the process of reading-feeding back a 1:1 relationship? 2:1? 5:1? Is it totally subjective and unquantifiable thus letting me off the hook before I even get underway?