Writing for magazines…

Updated on January 5, 2021 in General Stuff
2 on January 5, 2021

A friend commenting about burning stuff on new years reminded me of a story that y’all might find mildly interesting.

They say that you should keep your tax receipts for 10 years, even though the IRS only requires 7. Back in college, I read Julian Bream’s bio “a life on the road” and there was this bit in there where he had a trunk with a slit in the top, and he threw all his mail inside; fan mail, bills, requests for lessons or what not. 4 times a year, he’d build a bonfire, crack open a bottle of wine, and sit out there with 3 months worth of stuff in the trunk, and he’d hold the envelopes up to the fire to see if there was a check or a bill inside, and then throw everything else on the fire without opening it. He did this for decades.

I thought that was a grand story, so I’ve taken to doing something sort of similar with our tax receipts. Each year, I buy a cardboard file box, tape it shut, write the year on the end, and cut a slot in the lid. All our receipts and shit go in there, and at the end of the year, we open some bottles of wine, cut the tape on the lid, and sort/organize the receipts to then send to our accountant to rubber stamp. Once taxes are done, we throw the box and all tax documents into storage.

A few years back, we realized that we had over 20 years worth of boxes in storage, so we started burning a back year or two out in the fire bowl each summer. A couple of years ago, we were going through the years 2007 and 2008—a period of time when I was still writing for Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

So there we are, grabbing old receipts of yore, and tying on a good buzz with some Zinfandel, and I pulled this check stubb, from when I transcribed a Tarrega piece for AG, and wrote up a little historical and guideline blurb—maybe 75-100 words or so.

I’m staring at this check stub, and my wife notices that I’ve stopped moving, so she asks “what’s that?”

“Remember when I transcribed and tabbed out ‘Lagrima’ for AG mag? And wrote that little blurb on Tarrega to go with it?”


“I got paid $87.50 for that.

50 bucks to write the article, and $37.50 for the transcription and Tab. For a magazine that was subscription published in 17 countries, and available on every newsstand in the free world. And the tab and manuscript was a bit of work.

No wonder I don’t write for them anymore.”


Seriously, 87 dollars and 50 cents? For a “song to play” feature?

Damn. What a racket.



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  • robjh22
  • Fauxmaha
0 on January 5, 2021

Love that story!

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0 on January 5, 2021

That is a great story.

Calls to mind my bankruptcy in 2011/2012. Talk about existing in an alternative financial universe. My 335 was officially declared to have a value of about $200 if I recall, roughly the value of it in raw 2 x 4’s from home depot. All of the musical equipment we had at that point was similarly valued to keep our allotted “keep” under the $10,000 legal cap (yeah, still got all that shit in my basement). Wife and I both became professional musicians for the first time in our lives to stay under the income cap required for Chapter 7 (full liquidation) and the only income reported was when the winery required sending us a 1099. Roughly a random sample of a quarter of the 2 or 3 gigs a week that we were actually doing. And basically, we couldn’t take any savings with us. I distinctly remember playing that one right to the bone, couldn’t buy my wife and son a crappy mall noodle dinner the evening before my first post-bankruptcy paycheck hit at midnight that night. Dead f’ing broke.

Yeah, the shit we’ll do to survive in a pinch. 

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