So, my day job is not exactly a high paying day job. I watch the controversy (?!?) over minimum wage being raised, and over workers being paid living wages (again I say ?!?) and how some assholes think that just because you’re doing a menial job that it’s okay that you work full time and still have to resort to governmental aid to be able to have a roof over your head, have healthcare, and be able to feed yourself and your family. I don’t actually make minimum wage — but I do make less than a dollar more than my state’s minimum wage, at a job I’ve been doing for a decade, and at a place where people have been hired to do the same job I’m doing off the street making a dollar more than me, if not more. I frequently do the “what if” game. What if something happens to Beth? Could I maintain the apartment and the needs of the animals and still feed myself? (the answer? I’d be biking a lot more, because bye bye bus pass, and I’d be eating a lot less, because, you know. Food.) I’d be able to swing it if I was eligible for food assistance. But it would be tight.
Now, imagine we had children instead of cats and a dog. (I’d rather the cats and the dog, but they don’t need as much in the way of food. They don’t need clothing. They don’t need school supplies). This is what I think about when people bitch about people getting paid to do their jobs.
And that brings us to art, to artists and makers and creators and writers. Doing work. Artists and makers and creators and writers are just as important to a healthy, thriving society (oh, wait) health care professionals and teachers and trash collectors and service workers and people who flip your fucking burgers. Basic needs are the same. People need shelter. They need security. They need food.
So, this post? Shouldn’t infuriate, because it’s not a new thing at all, that writers are expected to get paid crap to write. Asking for $11 an hour to live on? Not. Rolling. In. It. Depending on where in the country you are, that’s barely a living wage. Why the hell should any be criticized for asking for that much? People, she wouldn’t be having $11 an hour of profit, of free money. That’s bills and rent/mortgage, that’s groceries and gas and car insurance. It’s people wanting to get paid to do their job. And, you know, you’re not obligated to pay authors or artists whose work you don’t enjoy. That’s fine. I want people who enjoy my writing to read my writing. But, if you are going to enjoy the art of others to the point of owning copies of it, support your artists. Don’t expect to get it for nothing. Not being able to afford it and not* going through authentic channels (like libraries, or used bookstores/not pirating) is utter shit and is, in a nutshell, a good example of what’s wrong with our culture. We lack empathy. We lack a willingness to humanize our fellow humans. We are taught to act as consumers with everything, and we follow as we are taught blindly too much.
Pay your artists, damn it.
edited because oh my gods did I forget a very important ‘not’ there. Libraries rock. Use your libraries. Don’t pirate. Do proof read your posts before hitting post.