Tagged — The Five Things Meme


I think I’ve been tagged for the Five Things Meme three times now. And a million other ones, too; my head’s starting to swim with them all. I may not do any of them. In fact, I probably won’t because I’m so overwhelmed right now. But at least I’m honest about it!

However, one of the questions in that Five Things meme resonates with me: What would you do with a million dollars?

I can say, with the utmost authority, that I would not change a single thing about my life and the way I live it. Oh, stop chuckling and disbelieving me. As Eric would say, have a little faith.

However, a million bucks (and more) has worked a transformation on my main core of characters. Eric, Trevor, Daniel, and Mitchell are all obvious; they’ve gone from being struggling musicians to rock stars. Rock Star is synonymous with wealth, of course; it ought to go without saying that these guys are loaded.

But there’s one character I’ve got, a woman who met a guitar player in a grocery story and assumed he was a struggling musician the same way that she was a struggling artist. When her assumption was proved wrong, much to Mitchell’s amusement, Kerri Broadhurst suddenly found herself marrying into money.

Thus, Kerri is probably the best person to ask what she’d do with a million dollars. Here’s what she had to say:

When I was in art school, I used to dream of being able to endow scholarships that would help broke art students like myself. My tuition at Riverview Art was entirely on me — my parents refused to pay a penny. In fact, they’d been quite clear about the fact that they hadn’t wanted me to go to art school at all, let alone one across the country in Riverview.

But Riverview Art Academy is one of the best out there. And getting far away from home seemed like a wise choice. So I took what I had, which was very little, and I turned it into a lot.

One thing I’ve learned about money is that when you marry someone who’s got it, you feel different about it. All those plans and dreams I’d had while in art school … they were still there, don’t get me wrong. Helping struggling artists was and is important. But spending Mitchell’s money didn’t seem like the right way to go about doing things.

I wish I could say that we struck a deal, but Mitchell would be insulted if I even hinted that’s what happened. He was always very clear about it: I was a full partner in our marriage but it was still a man’s job to provide. He’d been saving up for the day when he’d be able to provide for his family — at least, that’s what he said. The truth is somewhere closer to the band’s touring schedule, which didn’t leave any of the guys with time to spend what they were making, although Trevor sure tries.

Basically, Mitchell’s attitude meant that the money I earned from my art was mine. By this point, I was long out of art school, so my vision had expanded. One thing I’ve learned is that the art community at large has needs, even in a city as art-friendly as Riverview.

The point in all of this is that without Mitchell’s money, I wouldn’t be able to be the huge supporter of the scene that I am. He gave me this comfortable cushion that I needed to establish before I could give my own income away. Otherwise, I’d be giving away my own rent money, and that defeats the purpose; I’d need the help I’m otherwise giving.

What I guess I need to say is that it took more than just a million dollars to make all of this possible. That a million dollars doesn’t go very far anymore. Not like back in the days of the Rockefellers and the Roosevelts, whose wealth was astronomical for the times. Now, I meet ShapeShifter fans who are millionaires, and they are sometimes, the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever find. Some of them still struggle to make ends meet, the way I did when I was a penniless art student, cleaning a drag queen’s apartment instead of paying rent.

My advice to any new millionaire is to invest it. All of it. Let it be the springboard for the change you want to see in the world — even if that change is only that you now want to spend a grand on a pair of shoes that won’t be in fashion next week, just for the fun of it. A million isn’t what it used to be. Spend it wisely and make it last as long as you possibly can.



  1. OldOldLady Of The Hills

    June 23, 2007 8:40 pm

    I certainly do agree! A million dollors now is like $10,000, if you compare it to the time of the Rockerfellers, etc….Invest it wisely and try to live off of the income from it….If it is in REALLY safe safe investments, the interest won’t really be that much!BR/BR/Who would have ever believed that could be the case?BR/BR/Here from Michele today and I found this very interesting!

  2. MarciNYC

    June 24, 2007 8:09 am

    Mark and I ‘argue’ about what we would do if we hit the lottery. (Heck, we argue over annuity v. cash payout as well. I say take the cash and invest, even though it’s a lesser amount.)BR/BR/My theory – pay off the house, invest the rest and live off it. I would probably keep working because I’d go batty sitting on my @ss all day with no structure, but then I might quit my job and take a ‘disposable’ job so that I could quit if the DDSS got to me. :)BR/BR/Anyhow, I’m rambling – but another one in the invest it camp.

  3. David

    June 24, 2007 10:05 am

    kerri’s advice does not ring true for me. BR/I can’t see “making it last for as long as you can” when I do not know how long I will last. I say spread it as far as you can, so that when you don’t have it anymore you will have fond memories of helping people, and a few will remember you when you are approaching senility and take you in.

  4. cheesygiraffe

    June 24, 2007 4:27 pm

    I’d pay off my bills. Invest the rest. I’m not greedy.

  5. Henry

    June 24, 2007 7:42 pm

    If it after taxes, then it is easy. A safe, very conservative bank CD, no crazy investment. heck, you should be able to get somewhere around 7-8% on it. Not much, you say? well, figure getting 70-80k a year for the rest of your life without risking any of the principle. I know I am making this much today off my writing. And with capital gains tax being low as it is, you are looking at 50k net. So, if you find someone willing to dump their million on someone, send them my way.

  6. 'B'

    June 24, 2007 9:37 pm

    I think that if I was to win a million dollares (hopefully US as it has a better conversion rate than the AUD), I would pay ALL of my bills, go on a holiday and invest the rest, perhaps in Google or something like that…BR/Here from Michele’s today!

  7. 'B'

    June 24, 2007 9:37 pm

    I think that if I was to win a million dollares (hopefully US as it has a better conversion rate than the AUD), I would pay ALL of my bills, go on a holiday and invest the rest, perhaps in Google or something like that…BR/Here from Michele’s today!

  8. 'B'

    June 24, 2007 9:37 pm

    I think that if I was to win a million dollares (hopefully US as it has a better conversion rate than the AUD), I would pay ALL of my bills, go on a holiday and invest the rest, perhaps in Google or something like that…BR/Here from Michele’s today!

  9. Joy Renee

    June 27, 2007 5:53 am

    since we’re having a little fantasy here: I would get out of debt and then buy a bookstore that I could live in and have my dream writing office and hold book club meetings and writer’s workshops and author readings and signings and tutoring for shcool kids and no-shame literacy tutoring for any age. but a mil probably isn’t enough to make that happen anyway.BR/BR/I totally forgot the part of this post I should have rememberbered, because I just tagged you: http://joystory.blogspot.com/2007/06/i-was-tagged-by-adelle.htmlBR/BR/participate at your discretion but if it helps at all, make it about your characters instead of yourself.

  10. Carmi

    June 30, 2007 6:39 pm

    You build characters with such depth that as I read your work, I swear they’re real…they have voices, histories, everything that convinces me they’re standing next to me, speaking into my ear.BR/BR/Which is what separates the truly great writers from the merely good. Wish I could do that!

  11. Susan Helene Gottfried

    June 30, 2007 7:21 pm

    Oh, Carmi, thanks. I’m touched by that!BR/BR/Now, from your fingertips to God’s eyeballs — or at least those of a publisher and/or successful literary agent!

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