Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Wednesday, 06 March 2002

Progress on the screenplay is too slow. I'm still only on page 11. I'm not progressing at a rate that will get me done in time for the contest deadline. I'm not giving up, though. Maybe progress will accelerate as I move along. I'm actually pretty pleased with what I've got. The first 10 pages became 9 much better pages this evening. We'll see.

I lived in Ft. Lauderdale for two years right after I got out of college, working in the OS development group of a computer manufacturer.

A couple of the people I hung around with were playing at being poor.

There are some psychic benefits to being poor. You can feel smug about how you're not burdening the environment with as much pollution and not using as much non-renewable resources. If you can do without many possessions, you don't have to store them, insure them, maintain them, or use them enough to justify the expense of having bought them. If you live cheaply enough, you can support yourself with almost any job, which means that you can pick and choose, doing whatever appeals to you.

Playing at being poor lets you have some measure of these benefits without all the disadvantages of actually being poor.

Another one of the people I hung around with didn't think much of playing at being poor. She didn't mind them living however they wanted to, but she got pissed off at how they were arrogating to themselves the psychic benefits of poverty without actually being poor.

Playing at being poor means living in a cheap apartment, eating cheap, healthy food prepared at home, having only one car (and not a new one), and so on. It's really only a matter of giving up stuff--and not even all stuff. You can easily justify an extravagance or two. You might give up cable, but have a cable modem. Give up movies, but go to plays. Give up coffee shop coffee, but buy Jamaican Blue Mountain for home. In many ways, it's the way I live now. But I try not to be smug about it. I know the difference between what I'm doing and being poor.

Being poor isn't frugal or safe or healthy. Being poor means skipping an oil change because the alternative is skipping lunch for ten days. Being poor means living in a dangerous neighborhood. Being poor means wearing shoes that hurt your feet.

The difference is a matter of capital. Having capital is frugal. If you have capital you can play at being poor and actually live more cheaply than a real poor person. A frugal person's car lasts a lot longer than a poor person's. You can buy when things are cheap, instead of paying whatever price they happen to be when you simply can't do without them any longer. Similarly, it's safer and healthier.

I learned a lot from those folks I hung around with when I lived in Ft. Lauderdale.


Philip Brewer's Writing Progress homepage