Sunday, February 5, 2012

Writing Prayers, Paying Taxes

I've been thinking about the fact that last year, I would have been at the AWP conference and loving every minute of it.  I had planned to attend in Chicago this year, but I will not be there.  Once the main conference hotel sold out before I had a chance to make reservations, I was less happy about going to Chicago in the winter and trekking back and forth between hotels.  Then I realized that I had been thinking that the conference was on a different week-end, and the week-end that it was actually happening wasn't as convenient.  As always, there is no travel money from my school; I should start looking for some travel money/grant money for next year, and I should start doing that now.  And it's a lot of money, and I had hopes that I would be selling our condo, which would mean that next year, I may have some extra cash, but this year, I had to bring a chunk of money to closing.

I'm trying not to kick myself for missing all the great readings this year--and I could have been part of 2 of them, because of publications in the past year.  Last year, no readings.

More importantly, I'm trying not to feel sad about the opportunities I will miss to meet people, especially people with whom I already have a connection because of my online life.  I'm hoping that we're all young enough that we can look forward to future possibilities.

Yes, let me begin to plan ahead for AWP 2013 in Boston.  I want to put together a panel presentation on women writers and how we use fairy tales; I want it to be accepted.  I have no power over acceptance, but I can submit.  By the end of February, I'll touch base with all the possible presenters.  Hopefully, they won't say, "I thought she was going to do this last year.  I'm not going to be part of this.  That Berkey-Abbott has no follow-through."

I have a year ago on the brain too, because it was a year ago that I was asked to write prayers for a daily devotional book.  I wrote this post about the serendipitous way that this assignment came about and about the AWP presenters would have told me not to write for such a tiny amount of money and why I thought they were wrong.

I wrote those prayers and loved the experience.  I wrote about it here.  It's continued to tug at me.  I'd like to create a curriculum for seminarians to talk about spiritual writing beyond the sermons that they might write.  I've noticed that many pastors either don't write prayers at all or miss opportunities in their prayer writing.  I think that poetry has a lot to teach prayer writers.

I just got an offer to be part of this year's project, and I immediately wrote to say yes.  The editor also told us that the 2011 edition of the devotion book has sold out.  Wow.

Yesterday I got my contributor's copy of Women on Poetry:  Writing, Revising, Publishing, and Teaching, a book which likely will not sell out.  It's a great collection of essays, but at $45, I wonder how many people will be able to afford it.  Ah well.  I enjoyed writing the essay that's in the book, and I'm happy to get a copy.

Again, I think of those people at the AWP panel who would tell me that I was ripped off, that someone is making money from this book, and it's not me.  They would tell me that I need to stop writing for contributor's copies.

Of course, when I do my taxes next week-end, I may wish that I had been paid more in contributor's copies, less in dollars.  When I do my taxes a year from now, the condo sale at a loss will help offset my writerly gains, such as they may be.  This year, we shall see.

Don't get me wrong; I'm incredibly grateful to be paid in real cash for some of the writing I've been doing.  That's relatively new for me in my writing life.  I have hopes that money from my writing will continue to come in to my household.  I should be a bit more intentional in my taxes and the business side of my writing life.  That will be my goal for 2012, one of many goals.


Karen J. Weyant said...

I'm not going to be at AWP this year either -- but I love Boston! I want to reserve for next year's conference early.

Maybe we will finally meet outside of the blogging world?!

Thanks for preordering my chapbook!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Kristin, I will miss you in Chicago but look for you in Boston! (You, too, Karen!)

As for that panel on money and writing, try not to let it haunt you too much. That's just one set of opinions in a vast sea of opinions (sometimes the real downside to attending AWP is drowning in one strong riptide like this).

Kristin Berkey-Abbott said...

Thank you both, Sandy and Karen, for commenting. And yes, meeting in Boston is a great idea, and we must reserve early.

Anonymous said...

Do you know the book Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales? Essays by Fanny Howe, A. S. Byatt, Deborah Eisenberg, etc.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott said...

I don't know that book, but it's now on my list of books to look up. Thanks!