A gift from God, 1979

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The eyelid closes on another day in North Hero, Vermont, April 5, 2021. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

What a difference a day makes.

If yesterday was a dull, gloomy day in which I doubted my abilities and my future, today was a gift from God to lighten my life. True, the weather was mediocre at best, but the news was good.

The mail brought a letter from The Church Herald accepting “American Tourist or Christian Pilgrim?” for first serial rights, and offering $40 for it … in fact, including the check and my return mailing envelope. That’s considerate! Later in the day I (finally) heard from the Journal-Opinion that they’d like me to cover the town of Fairlee for them on a regular basis at $10 per article. Although this is a lower rate than they offered before, it is regular and will mean at least $10 per week, food money … and, the implication is, a chance of more to come.

Journal, Volume II
5 April 1979

Good news from my freelancing was enough to break me out of the funk of the previous day. This doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but $40 was fairly common for nonfiction in a market like that.

As for the Journal Opinion (not hyphenated! and its offer of $10 per story, it was reasonable. It wasn’t as much as the $25 for the town meetings, but those were long and distant. The paper had to cover those and didn’t have enough staff for all the simultaneous meetings, so they had to pay a little more.

It was also less than the $15 they had paid for the school board story, but that was a one-off. This was a regular beat. It was also closer to my home beat, which meant I’d use less gas to get to the assignments. And I’d already learned the value of fifteen dollars — or even ten.

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