I'm back in Santa Monica and the weather's fine.
The first leg of my massive international book tour was frikkin' awesome. And I don't even say words like "frikkin' awesome." That's how frikkin' awesome it was. Big, big thanks to all in Saskatoon especially Ken, Jan, Michael, Neil and Jaime for plenty of hospitality in the Great White North. I won't be needing my bunny hug or my toque for a while. But I'll bring them with me when I come back. And I will be back. I'm gonna save all my Loonies and Twonies for the next time.
All the stops were fantastic and I will cherish my moments all over this continent this year forever.
I popped in to the comments section, which I do about once every 4 or 5 weeks and I was not disappointed in my expectation to be disappointed by what I find there each time I look. One person took me to task for always reacting to what's in the comments section. That's kind of funny. Maybe I'm somehow anticipating what's in there without looking.
But the one that kind of annoyed me was a guy saying I was obviously in this for money and fame. Think what you want. But here's the real skinny on money and fame and what I'm in this for.
In September 2008 I was offered a position at the company I call "Nakano Productions" in Zen Wrapped In Karma. The catch was they wanted me to move to Tokyo. The annual salary they were offering me was about three times what I get for writing a book, which usually takes more than a year to complete. Not only that, they were cool with me writing books on the side and even taking time off to promote them. I hemmed and hawed and finally said "no."
Can you even imagine the monumental economic stupidity of that decision? I could be making four times as much money as I am now (adding book income + salary) if I'd said "yes." Plus I'd be living in Tokyo, one of the funnest cities on Earth. Where the girls all love American guys, I might add.
So, no, dear know-it-all reader and commenter, I am most assuredly not doing this for the money. Kindly please go fuck yourself now. Thanks!
I am not trying to belly-ache. I do OK anyway. I get enough to keep me in burritos and T-shirts and people have been very kind to me on tour. But I do feel I need to be clear about this.
I have chosen to try to make my living through my art, to be a professional writer and to devote myself to that craft rather than doing it as a side business. I am also a Zen teacher, but that's something I do for the love of doing it rather than to make money. Yet I write to make money. I don't have any qualms about this fact and I have made it clear on numerous occasions.
In order to make your living as an artist you need to be famous. No two ways about it. In order to earn as much from any kind of artistic pursuit as even the lowest level worker in any office or factory you have to spend a whole bunch of time effort and energy on promotion. So, yes, I pursue fame. But I pursue it not for the sake of being famous, which is mainly a pain in the ass. I pursue fame for the sake of making it possible to earn a decent living as a professional artist. And, as I just said, this has involved taking a massive pay cut. If you're thinking of pursuing a career as a writer, do not do it for the cash.
That's the real deal. Like it or lump it. And if you don't like it, go listen to someone you do like. OK?
I know there's gonna be people out there who'll read this as an angry rant. But I'm really not angry at all. I just feel like it's important to be clear on this stuff.
Now I'm gonna go play in the sunshine on the beach! Yay!