cimorene12's journal: change or die

Where are you and where are you going?
cimorene12
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 am

Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:13 pm

Stealth Wealth
Kind of thinking about: https://www.financialsamurai.com/the-ri ... iety-rage/

I suppose other ERErs run into this issue, that people think you're genuinely poor. It's my own fault for joking that I'm poor, and there's a lot to unpack there because I grew up in a place which skewed my ideas of what "poor" and "rich" are. Rich = over $X million in investable assets while poor = anything less than that. "What about the middle class?" you say. Middle class = poor. As of 2014, the median income was around $35,000 per year.
https://www.salon.com/2014/12/21/why_so ... s_partner/

The Millionaire Next Door is a classic FI book, although a bit dry for my taste. I do like flipping through it, though, because it shows how ordinary people save over time while living normal lives (instead of lives full of lentil soup ROFL that still cracks me up).

Almost nobody understands what it means to be a full-time author unless you are one. I think it's kind of a first-world problem. I was re-reading akratic's journal where he said this:
akratic wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:15 am
I also believe becoming FI has made it increasingly difficult to relate to the average person.

As an example, my wife and I sometimes attend a New Parents Group, where kids aged 0-12 months play in a circle while parents talk about the highs and lows of the past week. A typical mom might rant about how her husband is working 70 hours a week to make money for the family, but the apartment is still too small for the three of them, and neither the exhausted mom who has been with a newborn all day nor the exhausted dad who has been working all day has the strength to make it through another sleepless night of crying from their daughter. Meanwhile here's my wife and I *both* attending an optional activity from 1pm - 2:30pm on a weekday. One or both of us have been to this weekly group about 12 times now, and while there are some stay at home dads, not once has both parents of another kid shown up together.

Although my family and close friends know that I'm financially independent, I rarely evangelize or get into it with strangers. Strangers and acquaintances (like at the New Parents Group) sometimes pry, however, and in doing so seem to just about bend over backwards to assume the worst. I can almost see the gears spinning in their head while they conclude that I have some hidden trust fund or income stream from my parents or the government, or that my wife is supporting me, or just about any explanation other than that I earned my freedom myself. I can see the story they are spinning to themselves through the questions they ask, but they almost never come right out with it, and I find these exchanges exhausting.

My freedom seems almost impossible to accept for others
I'm not fully FI but obviously I have control over my working hours. It means that I have the time and freedom to do some things that normal 9-to-5 people put off or can't do. It also means that I'll stay up until 3 AM working out a particularly thorny problem although TBH I did not have the healthiest working hours when I had a corporate job and some people regularly pulled all-nighters at work.

I've had to field weird questions and been exposed to weird assumptions. A lot of people ask me if I've ever published a book right after I tell them that I'm a full-time author. I have a lot of books out, and honestly the exact number eludes me because writing books is a hamster wheel where as soon as you've finished a book, you're right back to the start and writing yet another one. I remember back when I was starting this journal when I hadn't even finished one novel. It feels like a long time ago, but it has only been 4 years.

I waited until I was earning a full-time income before I went full throttle. A bunch of people seriously do not understand that. It's as if I'm an 18-year-old kid who has announced to his/her family that he/she will become an internationally traveling painter and the family members roll their eyes at one another and ask, "And with what money?" As if painters never make any money and the 18-year-old kid is too young and broke to travel solo and doesn't even have a passport. A very large number of people are extremely condescending when you tell them you are a full-time author.

Someone asked me if I wrote every day, and I wondered if the same people who walk up to a plumber and ask them, "Do you plumb every day?" Maybe plumbers don't go out to job sites every day, but it's unlikely that the same question would be posed to another person in a different profession. Do people walk up to accountants and ask them if they work with numbers every day? Is it because being an author is a creative profession? If someone said, "I'm a professional, full-time sketch artist," would they be asked, "Do you sketch every day?"

Honestly people who are full-time musicians, painters, or sculptors seem to understand my position better than the average person can. Because they make their living off of art, they know what it's like. There are other creative professions, of course, but those categories include the professional artists to whom I've spoken after becoming one.
According to writer Joseph Epstein, “81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them — and should write it.”
https://publishingperspectives.com/2011 ... ish-books/

If people have stories to tell, I'm not here to stop them. I've been approached by random strangers who want me to write screenplays, which I don't even do. A very large number of people want to write a book, and that's awesome. But writing the book of your heart or your memoirs would not be the same as writing for a living for the VAST majority of authors. There are notable exceptions but it's survivorship bias, because most memoirs and books of the heart sink into quiet obscurity. When you write your memoirs, they are often for you (and your family and friends) and not to plant yourself at the #1 NYT nonfiction hardcovers slot for all time.

I don't write masterpieces. I don't spend decades agonizing over a 20k novella. I am cooking par-boiled pasta, slapping sauce on it, throwing it on a plate, and going to the next dish. That's not to say that I'm not proud of my work at all because writing is a highly individual thing. Of course my books have my voice and the sauce reflects how I think sauce should be. It's kind of like how some Starbucks baristas will make little heart patterns in the foam. Will the heart pattern in commoditized sugary burnt coffee matter? Not really. But it made the barista happy to do, and that's why it's there. The heart patterns don't fundamentally change the experience or the taste. Starbucks baristas get ongoing training, and I'm always working on becoming better. But at the end of the day, it's still just (coffee or) pasta with sauce.

black_son_of_gray
Posts: 325
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by black_son_of_gray » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:01 am

Funny you should post this, as I just today read the following from Margaret Atwood's Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing:
As for writing, most people secretly believe they themselves have a book in them, which they would write if they could only find the time. And there's some truth to this notion. A lot of people do have a book in them - that is, they have had an experience that other people might want to read about. But this is not the same as "being a writer".

Or, to put it in a more sinister way: everyone can dig a hole in a cemetery, but not everyone is a grave-digger. The latter takes a good deal more stamina and persistence.
She also mentions that, unlike many of the other arts which require some sense of specialization (e.g. a sculptor has clay or stone and tools, an opera singer has a refined voice and pitch, etc.), the writer's medium of expression - words - is accessible to essentially everyone. So it seems like some of the reverence that is afforded to gifted artists in other media isn't granted to authors, even though the craft and lifestyle are probably very similar. I wonder if you said that you were a full time calligrapher if that would shut down the "oh, do you write every day?" question. You would still literally be a writer, just a more specialized variant.

jennypenny
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Location: Stepford USA

Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by jennypenny » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:10 am

I don't think most people put writers into the starving artist category. Most other types of artists -- musicians, painters, etc -- get a weird, instinctual sympathy from people when they say what they do. Writers seem to evoke a combination of skepticism and derision. Maybe, as you said, it's because everyone can write to some extent so assume they could be a successful writer, too, if they tried. Both writers and chefs seem to suffer from this.

I think there's also a difference between writing as craft and writing as art. There's no shame in pursuing writing or another artistic endeavor as a craft. Think of all the composers who've written exquisitely appropriate and successful music for movies, advertisements, video games, etc ... their work is unappreciated and people assume their musical talents don't measure up to someone like Katy Perry. :roll:

I'm glad I can say I'm an editor when people ask. Editing is boring so no one really wants any details but it gives me an excuse for working on the laptop all day.

cimorene12
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 am

Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:04 am

black_son_of_gray wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:01 am
She also mentions that, unlike many of the other arts which require some sense of specialization (e.g. a sculptor has clay or stone and tools, an opera singer has a refined voice and pitch, etc.), the writer's medium of expression - words - is accessible to essentially everyone. So it seems like some of the reverence that is afforded to gifted artists in other media isn't granted to authors, even though the craft and lifestyle are probably very similar. I wonder if you said that you were a full time calligrapher if that would shut down the "oh, do you write every day?" question. You would still literally be a writer, just a more specialized variant.
You make a good point about telling people I'm a calligrapher. That would be really fun, actually. I will say that I went to school where the second largest music school in the world was, and vocalists did not get a ton of respect. I ate lunch with one of the voice PhDs and a mutual friend once, and the mutual friend asked really rude questions about why you'd need to train in voice or what a PhD in voice performance even involved. I'm not an excellent singer, merely a barely adequate one, but I've done it for a long time (not as long as piano). The PhD candidate and I looked at each other and tried to explain what PhD in voice meant.
jennypenny wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:10 am
I don't think most people put writers into the starving artist category. Most other types of artists -- musicians, painters, etc -- get a weird, instinctual sympathy from people when they say what they do. Writers seem to evoke a combination of skepticism and derision. Maybe, as you said, it's because everyone can write to some extent so assume they could be a successful writer, too, if they tried. Both writers and chefs seem to suffer from this.
I suppose cooking, like writing, is a basic life skill. And I can see where you're coming from. People have told me, "I used to write in high school, but I'm too busy now." As if my livelihood is a mere hobby that they set aside when they grew up and began to wait tables full-time.
jennypenny wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:10 am
I think there's also a difference between writing as craft and writing as art. There's no shame in pursuing writing or another artistic endeavor as a craft. Think of all the composers who've written exquisitely appropriate and successful music for movies, advertisements, video games, etc ... their work is unappreciated and people assume their musical talents don't measure up to someone like Katy Perry. :roll:
Yes, I think that you are right. One of my friends wanted to go into composing movie scores for a living. It makes me laugh that anybody (of course not you) holds up Katy Perry as a standard of musical talent (obviously she's a pop star and she's worked hard for what she has, but I don't think she's extraordinary).

I think maybe it's the distance between a carpenter and a wood sculptor. Some people build furniture from wood. Other people build sculptures from wood. While the basic component is the same, the words used matter, even if the sculpture can be used as a chair or a chair can be used as a sculpture.

CS
Posts: 306
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by CS » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:27 am

I'm surprised you don't give Katie Perry more respect - like Taylor Swift, she makes her money telling stories. :P Edit: I am joking with this one. But I do think well-crafted pop songs are under-rated. To me they are more enjoyable than those folks would want to bore you to death with their fancy riffs, odd time signatures, and (my all-time pet peeve) key changes. (Key changes make me want to turn off the radio and never turn it on again, :lol:.)

One of my classes in grad school was with the composing Ph.D. students in the music department (It was "Music in Science Fiction" - I got grad credit for that!!). Those students were so talented - one especially that I regret to this day not getting her name. I'd hope your friend made it doing movie music. There certainly are enough up and coming filmmakers these days that need music.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:47 am

Taylor Swift is a much better storyteller than Katy Perry. However, I don't think that Taylor Swift is a superb singer. She's a good songwriter. She's a good storyteller. But her performances always compensate for where she's weak, which is her vocal performance. There are some high quality acoustic performances by Taylor in intimate settings, but she's not consistently wonderful. There are a lot of smoke and mirrors when she performs during big numbers in concerts. There's a big difference between recording in a studio and performing live. Grammys in 2009: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAwh0Cdy8XU

Music in Science Fiction sounds really cool. No, he didn't end up going into movie music because he went into something else, but it's still a lucrative place to be.

cimorene12
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 am

Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:22 pm

Fertility
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46118103

I remembered a discussion on ERE from February 2015 about the declining birth rate in developed countries: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4483&p=87703&hilit=japan#p87703

We actually need more people to immigrate to countries that are experiencing a decline in birth rates. Without immigrants, the US is already under the replacement rate of 2.1. I was re-reading the WSJ article about America's Baby Bust, and it paints a pretty grim picture.

Pretending to be a stewardess
Miranda speed dating in a Sex and the City episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU7alwkLuE8

I recognize that I'm whining about a first-world problem, but I'm pretty chronically underestimated when I explain that I write books for a living. I've said it earlier in my journal, and it's what we last discussed here.
cimorene12 wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:30 am
New Publishing Houses
I was very interested in the NYT article about Meredith Wild. It says that she got $6.25 million as an advance, not the $7 million that other outlets reported. Still, it's one of the hugest advances ever.
I'm not Meredith Wild, I'm nowhere near her league, but I'm not scraping pennies either. I find it challenging to introduce myself, not just because of my profession. People tend not to believe me. I complained to one of my classmates that the only people who believe that I go to our school are our classmates and teachers.

I just finished Jia Jiang's Rejection Proof yesterday, so I'm feeling a little better about when people say no, but it's an ongoing issue for me. It helps to frame my life with a lot of context, which helps people understand why I've done what I've done, but when I just rattle off my resume people get upset and automatically reject what I'm saying as impossible.

It's mildly frustrating for people to tell me that I can't be who I really am or for me to have to pretend to be less than I am. Even something as simple as having a multi-lingual keyboard that can simultaneously handle English, French, and Spanish isn't believed at first. I literally whipped out my phone and showed them how the keyboard says EN-FR-ES on it, and they still didn't believe that I text in multiple languages (mostly to my family).

I've literally shown people my college transcripts to show that what I'm saying is true. The kneejerk reaction is "You didn't have a 4.0" which is absolutely true. I definitely didn't. But my transcript shows the degrees I completed. When I was interviewing at the job where I was at the beginning of my journal, the interviewer asked for my major GPA, and I had to ask, "Which one?" She left it up to me, and of course I chose the one that had the highest GPA for that major's classes. This weekend, I spent a lot of time thinking about how getting a bunch of majors was a very INTJ thing to do, because we understand systems. Not all INTJs would do it, of course, there are other things to do with your time... but a key part of getting a lot more majors than the average college grad was understanding how to fit puzzle pieces together. I remember talking to a girl who had triple majors, and she and I understood very early on in the college experience that after you got your General Education done, your major classes didn't actually take up a lot of your time (depending on the major).

What exactly do people have to lose by believing that my claims are true? Sure, people misrepresent themselves all the time. I get that. But do so many people lie about their accomplishments that most adult human beings won't set themselves up for a "gotcha" moment? Even if I have further questions about somebody's claims, I'm still going to take their explanation of their own history as true until proven otherwise. If someone told me something out of the norm, such as "I'm an astronaut," I wouldn't automatically dismiss what they were saying. I'd definitely ask more questions.

hojo-e
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by hojo-e » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:48 pm

Do you have the trappings typical of your fellow students or of someone with your success? Are you not showing the signals of a successful writer?

cimorene12
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 am

Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:11 am

I dress better than lots of my classmates. It's partially because of which school I go to that it's so hard to convince folks I go there. I've shown people my student ID and email. Upon reflection, I imagine a good number of my classmates run into the same thing.

ffj
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by ffj » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:17 am

But do so many people lie about their accomplishments that most adult human beings won't set themselves up for a "gotcha" moment?

Yes. Unfortunately.

One of the hardest things I had to do is learn how language and posturing work in normal conversations. As an INTJ, I used to take everybody's word as literal when that is not how the world operates. It created a lot of misunderstanding and tension at times until I finally figured out that most people don't think like I do, and their words convey totally different meanings than what mine would.

Case in point: I once was talking to a fairly attractive sales rep for kitchen countertops. In the course of our conversation, she told me how she had a degree in journalism and was in fact a journalist. Thinking this sales job was her side gig, out of genuine curiosity I asked who she wrote for?

She looked at me as if I had insulted her and said THIS was her job and she couldn't do both at once and that journalism didn't pay enough to sustain her. Looking back, I think she was just projecting what she thought was more glamorous considering her age (32ish) and good looks. At least I think, but once again I took someone at their word and left confused. haha

cimorene12
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 am

Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:29 am

@ffj good example. As an INTJ, I am also very literal. But it's about talking about who you wish you were vs. where you actually ended up. Also she did have a journalism degree, but just having the degree doesn't mean that you spend your days being a journalist.

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