Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Sunday, December 09, 2012
San Fransisco-based writer Jules Older on the subject of being a hobbyist
accountant, showed her my recent tax returns. She said, “Hmmm.”
“Hmmm? I don’t like the sound of hmmm.”
“Well, for the
past two years, your expenses have been greater than your income. One more year
like that and the IRS could declare you a hobbyist.”
word that manages to combine my least favorite personal descriptor with my most
feared taxpayer status.
used to routinely ask you for your hobbies. I always proudly answered, “None.”
I'm a man with goals and dreams, passions and projects, not hobbies. Real
writers don’t do hobbies.
As for status,
back when I gave up honest work to become a writer, I discovered the three-year
rule. It went something like, If you don’t make more than your expenses three
years out of five, you're not a real writer, entitled to claim income-tax
deductions; you're a lowly, lowlife, faux-pretend-wannabe writer. “Please use
the form, Preparation H.”
sir, are a hobbyist.”
Once I began
eking out a living from my brain-fingers connection, I stopped worrying about
being a hobbyist. And now, this hmmmm-saying accountant was telling me, “It’s
So. My goal, my
aim, my early resolution for 2013 is to start making money again.
Check back with
me in a year, and I’ll let you know how that worked out.
But in the
meantime, call me square, call me dumb, call me late for dinner, but don’t you
ever call me the H Word.
PS For an example of
how I'm spending my time not making money,