Monday, May 15, 2006

relative values, 2

My God, I could cry. Actually, I did cry, a little.
So it turns out that my editor, bless his heart, is a sensitive person, fond of harmony, mild and quietly brilliant, who suffers the tortures of the damned because he is in the wrong job. I remember his face in meetings--he had the stoic,pained look of a secret agent stubbornly resisting the commandant's ways of making him talk. He looked like Albrecht Durer with a bad migraine. He looked like the picture of quiet desperation.

I became incredibly fond of him after he once, in a rare moment of actually speaking, made a reference to Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener". After that it was as though we had a secret pact between us--we knew that there were other worlds than these, better worlds.

So this editor's daily existence consists of having to deal with crazy rich folks who call him every two minuts about the status of their overpriced, overratedLarry Newman art (name has been changed to protect me from google searches). If dealing with harrassment from the rich with bad taste weren't stressful enough (and trust me, it is), he has to fight for every little decent thing for the other artist he handles, and this means going head to head with a hyperactive, garrulous, stingy and extremely rich and thus entitled boss, who changes his mind every three seconds and tends to follow his nose, like Toucan Sam if Toucan Sam liked blow. Long story short, the editor decided that he'd rather pay me out of his own pocket than risk the contretemps and dickering that would come of suggesting that I write the damn thing and that I get paid for it. This is what made me cry. First, that he'd do that. (That explains the modest figure. He can't make all that much money there. None of us did). Second, that he is under so much pressure that he would consider it worth it to be out the money rather than having to spend even a few minutes being badgered, harassed, and worried to death with fighting for every little goddamned thing. In fact, if this were domestic, I'd say he is in an abusive relationship and needs to Get Out.

So I was very touched, and very worried, and I told him to just forget it.
So it's all relative. What I thought was a stingy offer was incredibly generous, generous enough to make me cry.
And I wind up with bupkiss, yet feeling ok with it.
Funny thing, money.


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