Kathryn Chetkovich, Granta, Envy.

Envy | Kathryn Chetkovich | Granta Magazine

I came to read this in a roundabout way. A recommendation from a writer I hadn’t read. She’s posted on Betsy Lerner’s blog. I hadn’t heard of her either. Betsy was Lucy Grealy’s literary agent. I greatly admired her autobiography. Betsy’s literary agent to Patti Smith, whose recent publication Book of Days, which I haven’t read, obviously went straight in at number one in The New York Times Bestseller list. Betsy has been on the Best Seller list too as an author. She asked a simple question, do you feel envious of other writers’ success.

My reply was I didn’t feel envious of her success, because she and they were on a different stratosphere to my writing. They are the four or five percent who make a good living from writing. Most of the rest of us are amateurs. I met online most of my fellow writers on Sunday night on a ABCtales  Zoom meeting.  Professionals can expect to make on average £7000 per annum or the price of a monthly rental for a one-bedroom in London. That figure too has been following year on year. We’re all amateurs now.  None of us, I expect, make anywhere near that through our writing, although some may have made the odd ten or twenty quid. Would I be envious if one of the ABCtalers went onto the Betsy Lerner level of success?

Aye and no. Because it’s nothing to do with me.  

It’s a Scottish thing that’s not Scottish. Proud that we knew them, as long as they didn’t get too big for their boots, or indeed had boots. I thought about examples from Siri Hustvedt or Julian Barnes, or Hemingway, or Dickens, or Shakespeare…

Boris Pastor, Necropolis, he lived in a place of death, but still envied the man that might have had a bit of potato skin in his soup.  Amen to our dreams.  



Amen to our dreams, for sure. It's inspiring seeing someone you know break through and be published. Maybe that's the magic of this site. £7K p.a. though. Not a living is it? Interesting stuff, CM.


I find it interesting marinda.