Monday, August 24, 2020

A LITTLE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM/A VICTIM OF COVID

Up until just a few days ago, I'm one of the few people who realized a profit from the covid disaster (if you discount my stock market losses). I got a job (albeit not a very good one - and not one I wanted) as a direct result of the pandemic.

But then I became a casualty. When my last Daily Beast freelance payment was credited to my account, it was only 40% of my previous stipend. First, I reached out to the paymaster suggesting that maybe there'd been a mistake. He referred me to my editor who ghosted me when I emailed him. And when I called him on the phone, I never heard a guy stammer so much. Before he even managed to get a word out, I knew the deal.

I figured that the Beast has had about enough of my "Johnny One Note" observations on the subjects of Paul Manafort and Jeffrey Epstein. And that one of his superiors told my editor "cut Mersey's (or all the freelancers) pay." Hard to know if we all got whacked - or just some - or just me. 

Curiously, the man didn't site covid as the culprit. Rather, he noted that the original payment (for the first piece) had been high because another publication wanted it. What he didn't explain was how that payment remained in place for the following pieces as well. I didn't argue the point considering it would have accomplished absolutely nothing save alienating a guy who has helped me. I might be stupid. But not that stupid.

The conversation then turned to my prospective contributions and how they were beginning to resemble a 60's pop act with one hit - and then several follow-ups that sounded almost the same as the original chartbuster. I had to consider that constructive criticism - as in some measure, it's true. 

But then I thought back to the commissioned piece about escorts (which never ran). And another about Ron Jeremy, which two editors liked but couldn't use at the time. And I realized that the constructive criticism I'd absorbed was as much smoke screen as it was the former. My editor and his superiors didn't shut the door on my contributions. That would be difficult to do given that I'd done nothing to elicit their ire. They just basically implied that I'd have to "up my game" - and at a 60% reduction in pay. Oh well.

On the plus side, today is a paid vacation day from my pedestrian job which if I haven't mentioned, has been extended past my termination date. If it wasn't going to be 90, I'd go hiking again. But 90 is too fucking hot to climb a mountain. I'll take a bike ride instead and consider my ersatz writing career when the mood strikes.

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