I am a fiction writer, an Ivy League adjunct professor, a mother to two kids. I was meant to write about all the ways there was no longer space for people like me to make a stable living; all the ways this country’s lack of safety net – it’s merciless adherence to late capitalism, the gig economy, the broken healthcare system – were grinding so many of us down. I wrote, both before and after Covid-19, about my lack of health insurance. I might also have written about our lack of dental insurance, the pain I feel and have for years, each time I chew.
Well, yes. Although having a look around:
To be clear, I believe that to be poor and broke are different – and my husband and I are not poor. Poor implies generational precariousness and instability, and though our lives are filled with financial uncertainty, we also have educations, credit cards and people we could call in dire circumstances.
What we are is people who were brought up to believe that wealth is intrinsically connected to one’s inherent worth, only to find, with two kids and in our late 30s, that, if that’s the case, we’re not worth much.
Well, ya know, sorta.
Two kids, stay at home father – who works on his novel at times apparently. Living in New York City, even if it is Brooklyn. Two literary novels to her name, one not even released yet (the average sale of a first novel is 300 copies).
What’s the surprise about poverty here? And, other than the idea that self-proclaimed artists get to live off the rest of us, what is to be done about it?
I’d love to write more non-fiction books. I’ve notes lying around for several of them in fact. My non-fiction books sell perhaps 500 copies a time. Thus something else has to be done to pay the bills. Shrug.
What other solution is there?