Posts Tagged ‘F prime’

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

So Lev Grossman What Is the Deal with You and Time Magazine (Part 1)

So sometimes when I’m talking to people — fans, people in bars, forensic psychiatrists, you know, people — they’re all, jeez, you work at Time magazine? What’s the deal with that?

As far as I can tell this question can actually mean two different things.

Meaning #1: You write novels. Moreover they are actually (for some reason that I don’t necessarily understand or endorse) published. Why do you have a job at Time too?

Well, here’s the thing: most novelists have day jobs. The sad truth is that there just aren’t that many novelists who make enough money that they don’t have to work on the side. A lot of them teach writing. Some do other things. Like work for Time.

There is a magic number somewhere out there, which is the amount of money I’d need to make from my novels to quit buy zithromax cheap working and just write them full-time. French mathematicians, building on earlier work by Descartes, first discovered and calculated this number in the 17th century. They named it Fuck-You Money, or simply F prime. (This would be funnier if I knew how to do superscripts in HTML.) The amount of money I currently make from writing fiction is approaching F prime, but it isn’t there. Yet.

That’s partly because in my case F prime is artificially high, because I live in a really expensive place, namely New York City. Where I stay partly because my daughter (who’s 5) lives here with her Mom, and I would be miserable if I lived too far from her.

I also stay in New York because I work at Time magazine. Recursiveness! You can iterate that loop pretty much endlessly.

Coming tomorrow: Meaning #2!