Friday, April 16, 2010

A happy tax

Earlier this year, I complicated my 2010 taxes by accepting pay for working at my friend's theater. Today, a different friend called me about reading over his novel for him, and offered to pay me for that, too. I wondered if the IRS would really come after me for not reporting something like that. I suppose I'll get around to bending that law when it comes time for the breaking. I wish I had some colloquial wisdom to insert right here, but alas, my researching is incomplete.

I am watching Justified though. The latest episode (given unto me by the prophet Hulu) solidified a theory I'd been developing for a few weeks now. Listening to the director and actors, the show seems to owe it's origin to that of a short story from which the first episode takes its name. The first episode is strong, well acted, scripted, and directed. I'm not sure what I was doing, but I dropped it promptly and watched the next three in rapid succession. With each, my anxiousness faded along with my smile; both were replaced by a creeping confusion.

Because only the first episode uses the afore mentioned story as its underpinnings. That work of fiction, which I believe strongly had been edited and crafted, reworked and rephrased, cared for many times more than the other pieces of story. It was fairly apparent. I wondered why. Other shows I admit to watching don't suffer from this phenomenon. And I don't think it was the stellar first effort setting up later chapters only for failure beneath raised expectations. I think, maybe, that the show has only average, or moderately talented writers, and that the one person they should have hired, they did not for whatever reason.

In a story I've been working on, I espouse the notion that effort translates into something like depth or power. Tools remember every hour of work, let's say. Or a well-used toilet seat is never cold, to be even more mystical.  I hope that's true. Thursday afternoon, and evening, I finally put all my planning on the fiction project to the page. It was to be post marked on the 14th, so I was working on the day it was due, and no amount of speed could get it to Brooklyn in time. When I started, I really didn't care much about whether they'd accept it, or even whether or not I'd still send it when (if) I got done.

By the time I was done, though, I knew absolutely that it was going in the mail. The thing was irradiated with my concentrated hours of labor, and the days of pouring over each word that went into it. I used color in multiple shades; I broke several leads from sheer stress. I discovered the complex madness of using a glue stick: how to soak the page with adhesive, then how to move the object once it was affixed incorrectly, or remove it completely without ripping it, then to watch over the edges and press press press them like some manic watchman. There were no cheap efforts. I woke up early today, and I did not bat an eye at the price of next day delivery. And whether or not it ends up in a trash can somewhere, the effort put in will mean something to me.

Today, I feel rich, and I feel like I'll get away with it without having to pay later.

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