Posts Tagged ‘clarence clemons’

Catching Up


It’s been a busy few days, what with the ThrillerFest award and all the discussions about heading for Arizona to write an e-single called Sarah Palin’s Arizona. The bottom line on that was that at this point in my career I’m not going to start writing without getting paid for it (except for this blog, which I’m doing, yes, to increase awareness of THE ROGUE in advance of its September publication, but also because I enjoy interacting online with all of you: or most of you, anyway.)

The way electronic publishing is evolving for magazine-length original pieces, the writer gets no fee or advance up front but is guaranteed a share in sales revenue down the line. If I did a Kindle Single directly for amazon, I’d get 70 percent of eventual revenues, but then Barnes & Noble would be unhappy because they want people to buy Nooks, not Kindles. And if you have a potentially big book scheduled for fall publication you don’t want to make Barnes & Noble–the country’s largest retailer of actual physical books–unhappy in the summer.

So you write an e-article that is not a Kindle Single exclusive and can also be downloaded on the Nook, the iPad, and across all other electronic platforms. But who pays you to do that? The answer, in this case, turned out to be no one. I was offered a deal whereby an e-partner would electronically “publish” Sarah Palin’s Arizona, but in return would take half of my 70 percent share of sales revenue. And would not pay me any sort of fee or advance for doing the three to four weeks of work involved in reporting and writing, but would only agree to pay a nominal sum to offset my expenses.

No thanks. This arrangement was described to me as a partnership, but I said, “Yeah, it’s like a partnership between a lion and a lamb.”

The further into the 21st century we progress, it seems that more people are devising more ways to not pay writers for their work. See Huffington Post as the most offensive and egregious example. And, believe me, even Daily Beast fees are–to be generous about it–minimal.

Not that it broke my heart not to spend up to two weeks in Arizona at the height of summer. The fact is that it will feel good not to have to write anything more about Sarah Palin. I’ve even spent days at a time recently not even thinking about Sarah Palin. Not thinking about her was accompanied by a strange feeling I recognized from my distant past. I asked Nancy, who’s been with me since 1970, what she thought it might be. She said, “Happiness?”

Bingo! There will come a day late this fall when I’ll be able to throw up my arms, jump in the air, and shout out, “Free at last!”

That, of course, leads to the question of what to do next.

When I met Rosanne Cash recently at her concert at Bard College, alma mater of my son James the Agent , I told her I’d like to write next about someone I admired and respected, whose life and work had inspired me throughout my own life, as did Rosanne’s father, Johnny.

Thinking more about this in recent days I’ve found myself thinking about Bruce Springsteen. I first heard his music in the mid-1970′s, when Philly radio stations started playing it and Nancy and I were living in New Jersey. (We think of the 1970s as either “Joe and Nancy: the Jersey Years,” or, more simply, “The Lost Decade.”)

But I’ve watched and listened as Bruce grew, both as musical talent and man, over the many years since. He’s become, even more than Bob Dylan (whom I consider a demigod), our Walt Whitman: poet of the common man, lover of democracy, personification of what we as a nation can be at our best.

I’ve read Dave Marsh’s excellent Two Hearts, but, especially in light of the recent passing of Clarence Clemons, I think it might be time for me to do my own celebration of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEEN: AMERICAN.

It’s sure more fun to think about than it is to think about Sarah.

And listen here to Rosanne’s great duet with Bruce on “Sea of Heartbreak.”2-17 Sea of Heartbreak (feat. Bruce Springsteen)

HOWEVER: I can’t put Sarah behind me just yet. She got that Newsweek puff cover, she’s got Greta Van Susteren saying she’s running, and the GOP field continues to display its inadequacy. At some point, she has to figure, “Why not?” If she doesn’t, Bachmann takes her mojo away. If she does, she becomes the white hot center of U.S. politics once again. I’ll have more to say about this in days to come, but for tonight I’m going to listen to Springsteen and feel happy that I don’t have to board a flight to Phoenix tomorrow morning.