Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Crabby Morning

I try not to blog when I'm crabby, because I want my blog to be inspirational and encouraging; I think the world has sufficient crabbiness in it already, and not enough hope and cheer.

But I'm crabby today. And I want to blog today, anyway. So I'm going to try to draw some positive lessons from my crabbiness to forestall future crabbiness.

I am crabby because I am supposed to speak next week at what was to be (and I'm sure will be) a delightful young authors' night at a school in Jefferson County. The event involves proud children sharing their work, and then a visiting author (me) giving a talk to the children and their parents. I agreed to be the visiting author and charged the school $150 for my time. It is about an hour's drive each way, after a long full day of work already, and however rewarding the evening will be, I am still unwilling simply to work for free, any more than the teachers who teach these children are willing to teach for free. Just because something is worth doing, and you love doing it, doesn't mean that you should be expected to do it without any financial compensation. I could tell that the school thought I was a pretty terrific bargain.

So why am I crabby? I am crabby because in order to be paid this small stipend, I have to fill out a whole host of notorized forms to report that I have no criminal record, to waive my right to worker's compensation if I'm injured on the job, to pledge that I will pay my income tax on this money. I can hardly even figure out the various things I'm supposed to check on the forms. The sentences on the forms aren't even grammatical English sentences. The one about my criminal past wants me to sign my name to this statement: "Vendor nor those working for the vendor have been convicted of a felony or other serious offense." Don't they mean "Neither vendor nor those working for the vendor"? Otherwise, isn't it saying that I HAVE been convicted of a felony or other serious offense? And it hardly seems worth $150 to go find myself a notary to witness my waiver of any claim to worker's comp for giving my little talk that evening. It just doesn't feel fun any more, filling out all these tedious and confusing and exasperating forms. I'm leaning toward just telling them that I'll go for free, as a form of community service. But then that seems like rewarding Jefferson County for having such terrible forms to fill out.

Now, I said I was going to try to draw some lessons from my crabbiness to forestall future crabbiness. I think maybe the lesson is that I should have charged more for my time. Other writers charge more for their time. I think I'm really crabby because I undervalued my time in the first place, and now I feel bitter that even to get this very small stipend I'm forced to jump through so many hoops. If I had valued my time more, and charged a more appropriate honorarium, then I wouldn't mind jumping through some hoops to get it.

Though I think I would still mind signing my name to that ungrammatical sentence!

1 comment:

  1. I admire your determination to discover the positive "lesson" in your crabbiness, and I'd agree that you found the source. You are a gifted author and, I'm sure, teacher.