Give it Away

Are you sick of it yet? The bids to buy, buy, buy? The midnight sales? The Act Now and Get  20% Off deals? A  friend just wrote me an email saying that life as we are living it these days is ‘nothing but a set-up to labor, pay bills, get screwed by big government, then die.’ He says the system is structured for the wealthy, and this is on the increase. He says he feels like a serf, a puppet for the political powers that be.


Sigh. He’s right, Scroogelike as it may sound – and I know I’m part of the problem, pestering family members for gift ideas. I’m also part of it, going on and on over these last 5 days about my own book, like this guy lusting after a little coin.

This is the last day and here is the last book. It’s a collection of the nicest pieces I ever recorded for Public Radio over the years when I went to their local affiliates all over, recording these seasonal pieces in their studios, most of them light, some touching, all designed to be appended at the end of the Drive Time news.

I traveled all around doing this, from Provincetown to Tucson to Portland to WAMC, the Public Radio station that blankets all of New York state.

For years I drove to WFCR in Amherst where the late Bob Paquette was senior news producer and the host of the station’s “Morning Edition” show. I would sit in my special recording room and he would sit in his special engineering room and we’d go to work, he stopping me every few paragraphs to go back and down it again if I swallowed the end of the word or hiccupped or something.

It was the same thing when I went to Maine Public Broadcasting in Portland. Keith Shortall would do the same careful correcting until we got a good product.

No one ever paid me for any of this but that’s not why I stopped doing it. I think I only stopped because I was too busy writing a weekly column and writing a daily blog.

I make very little money from the column. I make no money from my friend the books. And obviously I make no money for these daily mediations you see here at Exit Only.

And that feels just right to me… I only thought I’d mention the books here to see how it made me feel. Maybe I’ll just keep giving them away to the book program for our servicemen and to the public schools where I go give talks. That’s one thing I’ll never say no to.

I think you almost never mind it when you give yourself; it’s selling yourself that wears you down.

Oh! And here’s the photo I used for the cover. It helps me remember that each season has its own beauty. 

I decided to call it All Beautiful. Here’s what the case looks like front and back:   

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4 thoughts on “Give it Away

  1. Look Toots, I know how hard it is to promote one’s work.
    With me, on my computer, it’s endless buy,buy,buy,spam.
    However, I would like to buy one of your books…. you just
    figure out what I’d like….and tell me how to pay for it.
    cheers, Rip Tragle
    riptragle @mac.com

    1. Toots! No one has called me Toots since that past life in the 1890s when I tended bar at a joint on the Baltimore docks!
      I will email a request for your address and send you some little samples how about?
      What do you do Rip? I will ask you that offline here. Me I’m just not cut out for the hawking trade…

  2. QUID PRO QUO:

    Top O’ The Mornin’ ta Ye. Your post today reminded me of days when I worked among the homeless a case manager here in Southern Nevada. I had to wear three hats but my pay scale never moved an inch..ah..a penny. I was as I say, a case manager but also preceptor to UNLV master degree student interns and an adolescent crisis intervention counselor.

    On Fridays, at 4 P.M, I’d just be getting ready to depart my labors and then some troubled kid would go into crisis-life without a Dad, living in a locked down homeless shelter is not easy. I’d end up sitting with these boys until sometimes 5:30P.M. as the Vesper hour arrived and western skies became a pinkish blue then gray, to black. If it were very serious, I’d be there til 7 P.M., sorting through the difficulties, processing the pain and finding a solution to press forward. Not a dime more for my time. The talks were not about stubbed toes or how the food was cold, they were all connected to that most complex thing of all, the human, broken, wounded heart. The hearts of young boys, abandoned.

    I came in Monday morning and my buddy (we’ll call him Rick) an MFT Counselor, noted a forlorn look on my face and made inquiry as to my sullen brood. After explaining to Rick how I stayed at work for long extra hours almost 3-4 times a week without even a “thank you” or a raise..hint-hint..he replied: “You are looking for Quid Pro Quo. You have to do this for love of the craft or it will eat you up and you’ll burn out.”

    What we expect and what we get, is a thing not assured I gleaned from Ricks blunt but true words. “Love of the craft..” seems to be the reward.

    Oh, that guy you wrote about above is right. Most of us are among serfdom.

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