Image on Melrose, courtesy The Dirt Floor
Some thoughts I had on writers today, and on the $20 in Rodger Jacobs' bank account...
The WPA Federal Writer’s Project employed 6,600 writers. It did not launch until the Great Depression was already six years old. There is no WPA Writer’s Project on the horizon today, only EBT food stamps and Kafkaesque healthcare. And I doubt there will be on in 2013.
I think the immediate future will only offer more shakeouts before it offers better times. Right now the world of bookchat, litchat, and commentary is so meretricious and publicity-driven that everybody “knows better” than to support anyone’s cause but their own. Furiously-flapping fruit bats flitting about a cave at dusk is the image that comes to mind. But that was true for writers in the early 1930s too, when newspapers, for instance, were mostly edited by publicists beholden to the wealthy, as today.
Advertisers jumped to radio in that 1930′s climate, a key decision. When local advertisers jump to the Internet to escape the stigma of print, that will help writers, I think, especially if they’re allied with other writers.
To scapegoat the powerless Democrats, the dead-ender Republicans, or anybody at all is futile to the cause of finding sustained support. Writers who need to pay bills need to huddle to stay solvent and instead most of them are feigning more and more privilege to distinguish themselves from the needy. That, to my mind, is a losing long-term strategy. Writers without assets need to form sturdy bands with other writers, even if it is against their nature, as they did in the 1930′s, to reap what they sow. They need to belong to groups, to movements, to group blogs; they need to share readers and advertisers; they need to share money and effort. Nobody else is going to do it for them, for a long time, anyway; that’s obvious.
(and btw you can always PayPal Rodger some help at