Thirty-seven year old writer Marjorie Black has just announced that her next book, How The Fuck Am I Supposed To Make It As An Artist, will be published on pieces of bark donated by local, libertarian-leaning trees. Instead of being sold, readers will offer her goods and services, like organic heirloom tomatoes and an ombre dye job, in exchange for a pithy account of just what it takes to have it all.
“This way I won’t have to pay twenty-four thousand dollars in taxes on my twenty-five thousand dollar advance,” Black says, swirling a mug of coffee that smells a lot like Jameson. She’s sitting in the sandbox of a Taxachusett’s home she once owned on the North Shore, surrounded by a few pales and a shovel, none of which are hers. “I had to sell my house just so I could get paid to sell my book. Luckily, the new neighbors let me hang out here, as long as I change the sand myself.”
Though no small cost, Black urges all aspiring authors to “follow their hearts.” Living like a stray cat is a fair price to pay for being a writer, especially in a time when libraries are employing more grave diggers than cemeteries. “I tried a 9-5 job once,” Black confides, refilling her mug from a flask stashed inside a Red, White, and Blue monster truck. “The coffee was free but goddamn was it watery.”