I'll admit it: I only checked out the book Writing for Love and/or Money because I loved the title.
I didn't (and still don't) know anything about the author, playwright Frank Gilroy. This is not surprising, because my knowledge of playwrights is even more embarrassingly incomplete than my knowledge of artists. This is particularly sad because I was a drama geek in high school. So: Frank Gilroy is a playwright and author who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Subject Was Roses*, and this book is his explanation of how he got where he is, mainly by skipping school, avoiding nine-to-five jobs, and gambling at the race tracks. Or, as he says in his introduction:
"As the man introducing me at the local community college goes on about my loftier achievements and awards, the audience (kids from families straining so they can get a higher education) openly yawns.
Scrapping prepared remarks, I tell them 90 percent of my career has been failure.
'I've been dead broke six times and if I don't sell something soon it'll be seven.'
I have their attention."
What follows is a year-by-year rundown of both his successes and his failures. I only got as far as p. 40, but that was mainly because I've got other things around I want to read more. But what I read of this, I enjoyed. I LOVED one of his college anecdotes:
"'Why are you going to college?' Professor John Finch asks various students the first day of Freshman English.
Some say to get better jobs.
Some say because in their family everyone goes to college.
'To have a happier life,' one fellow says.
'That's the answer I've been waiting for,' Finch pounces. 'You're in the wrong place. The more you learn the more uncertain you'll be about things you've taken for granted.'
Slight pause. Then: 'The compensation is you'll be unhappier at a higher level of awareness." (pp. 20-21.)
I really enjoyed that. I won't get the rest of it read, but I really enjoyed that.
*Here's today's fun fact: the movie version of The Subject was Roses starred Patricia Neal, an American actress who was fantastic in the movie Hud (with Paul Newman) and who was married to British author Roald Dahl. Small world, after all.