I've published half a dozen essays, dozens of book reviews and poems and hundreds of political articles and leaflets, and I'm about to have a first book - a mixture of poetry and 'imaginative' prose - published, but this is the first time that somebody has been daft enough to pay me for my scribblings, and frankly I'm not sure how I feel about it. Perhaps it's making a virtue out of necessity, but I've always liked the way that the 'literary' scene, or at least the poetry subscene of the literary scene, has never offered its denizens any meaningful financial rewards.
I'm probably hopelessly deluded, but it seems to me that some of the fakery and conceitedness that infects other art scenes - I'm thinking of the visual arts, in particular - has always been minimised in the poetry world by the absence of money.
We're like All Blacks in the old days before professionalism - doing what we love, when we can, for the love of it. (The great Allen Curnow spoke of 'making a living in my spare time'.)
On the other hand, I am short of booze for the weekend, and the princely sum I have received for my deathless review of Jack Ross's latest should be able to buy me three crates of Southern Draught, my new favourite brew and the cheapest way to get drunk in Auckland at the moment...
[At this point I was going to insert a pic of the glorious work of art which is the Southern Draught logo at the bottom of this post, but the buggers who produce it are so cheap that they don't even have website - at least, not one I can find. I'll settle for a Ranfurly, which is brewed in my home town of Papakura and is easily the nicest fairly-cheap (as opposed to ultra-cheap) beer available in Auckland).