How to make and manage money while writing the Great American Copy.

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Press the keys to make the cheese! (I had to borrow these bills for the picture.)

During my first job interview, back in 2005, I was asked my thoughts on business. I said “Pffft LOL I don’t know anything about business!” (Guess who didn’t get the job.) A decade later I’ve somehow stumbled into running my own freelance writing business. Pigs are flying and money is getting made.

But let’s back up.

Being a freelance writer—or freelance anything—is tough stuff. You have to be your own agent, manager, administrative assistant, accountant, and lunch-maker, while somehow constantly cooking up the creative juices necessary to keep a deck of clients inspired enough to pay you. …

March is all about hoops and heartbreak. A Villanova fan weighs in

I’m nursing a broken heart. But it wasn’t a man who broke it; it was thirteen men, all basketball players at Villanova University.

I thought the 2014–15 NCAA basketball season would end with the Villanova Wildcats winning a national championship. I sort of believed it back in November, and I really, truly believed it as recently as 50 hours ago. I fell in love with the image of those thirteen men and their coach, Jay Wright, hoisting a trophy over their heads. …

and My Terrible Telephone

by Mary van Ogtrop

The past few days, I’ve read story after story about woman-on-woman pseudo-violence. There’s Jennifer Weiner’s recent New York Times piece about how the model on the cover of the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, with her swimsuit bottom pulled way down to there, is setting a new standard for bareness that no lady I know could ever attain, let alone maintain. Then there’s the Humans of New York photo of a teenaged girl, to whom it was told on Instagram that she is a slut and should kill herself. (No proof that another girl made the suggestion, but I’m going with my female intuition here.) And the Huffington Post piece detailing how Beyoncé ripped from fellow songstress Ledisi the right to sing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” at the Grammy’s, when it was Ledisi who recorded the song for the movie Selma. “No one says no to Beyoncé,” confided a source. Ledisi said she was “disappointed” not to get to sing at the Grammy’s but “had to look at the positive and empower women. …

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I first discovered Tom Waits, like a lot of artists I’ve come to love, through the music of Bruce Springsteen. I was obsessed with Bruce in high school — okay, I still am, but back then I needed to hear every artist even tangentially related to him, like I was tracing a musical map to Bossdom and beyond. Since Bruce performed Waits’s song “Jersey Girl” live, I went in search of the original. …


Mary van Ogtrop

Writer and editor by day, Bruce Springsteen propagandist by night (as well as day). Philadelphia forever.

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