Giving Direction for “Being Poor”

If you’re here because you read the AP story on my "Being Poor" essay, the entry in question is here, and the thread for additional comments about it (on account of the original thread got up to 350 comments) is here. Also feel free to wander around and see what other things I write about here.

In the last couple of weeks since I wrote "Being Poor" I’ve been finishing up a novel and then letting my brain slowly reinflate from the effort, so if you want to catch all the stuff surrounding the "Being Poor" piece, you may want to pull up the monthly archive from September and start from the beginning (the "Being Poor" piece I wrote on 9/3, but there are a couple pieces previous to that to give it context, starting on 9/1). The monthly archive is in reverse chronological order, so scroll down to the bottom to start.

The entries between September 1 and September 11 are particularly relevant to the whole "Being Poor" thing (and on 9/11, I have a reprint of the entry I wrote after the actual 9/11). After that I start focusing on writing stuff, which is still interesting but not really related.

If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about here, a reporter from AP did a story on "Being Poor," which you can see here.  

Also, as a point of interest, Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune has a "being privileged" counterpoint column running tomorrow in that paper, but an early and participation-friendly version is available on his Trib blog here. Check it out and if you have something to add, do.

And now we’re all caught up! 

4 Comments on “Giving Direction for “Being Poor””

  1. If this is the same story you refer to:,1280,-5299893,00.html

    You can read it without needing to be registered.

    It is amazing how that piece has taken off. Good job, John.

    Without taking anything away from the piece, doesn’t seem odd that people were so–what?–surpised by such a simple (in form, I mean. A sort of honest simplicity) essay? I’m not sure if I’m saying this right…but it’s like you said in the article, people seem to be surprised that there are actual poor people in America. Or maybe they felt like this was the first time it was ok to talk about it and not try to hide their own experiences? It’s like we finally admitted that, yes, their are a ton of people out there who are/were poor (maybe even ourselves)and it doesn’t mean they/we are all lazy and dumb.

    I just find it interesting that this essay created such a huge response. But anyway, Congratulations, John.

  2. I fixed the link to direct it to a non-registration site — but thanks for the additional link, Lisa.

    I of course also find the response to be very interesting, as well as gratifying. I’m happy it’s touched a nerve and gotten people talking about poverty here in the US (and elsewhere). Mind you, I don’t want to overestimate its reach. But every little bit helps.

  3. Being (extremely) privileged is being able to attend an ivy league school without having to worry about parents and/or self going bankrupt…

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