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Diary of an artist, Monday, December 10, 2018
# 765 (countdown)
Woke up 4:00 am.
Yesterday someone asked this question on Quora:
Assuming your job only pays 95 percent of your bills but another job is not an option for the next six months due to contract, and bills have already been whittled down to necessities, what’s your best advice for fixing the situation?
I answered it and then thought I would write an entry about selling used goods online and offer my advice on how to best do it after a year of doing it.
Even if you think that there is nothing you could sell, I believe you will find out (if you look closely at this) that it wasn’t true and that, as a matter of fact, there is a lot.
If you searched through all your belongings once, repeat the process. A month later look again. You will find new items you will be able to sell, guaranteed. Then repeat the same process two months later. Then three months later. Then six months later. Then a year later. Each time you will find something you no longer use and which can be sold.
Do it properly. Put some real work and thought into that. Otherwise you’ll be giving stuff away, not selling it. I mean, you can sell everything really quickly (on the spot) if the price is low. If it’s not low you’ll have to wait a little bit. I bet you’ll have some items people will want despite the not so low price, and with other items it will take longer. Patience is important. If you’re not patient you’ll practically sell your stuff for nothing (which isn’t much different from giving it away for free). Don’t reduce prices easily. My experience tells me that if you’ll wait someone else will show up and buy it for the price you set or will be satisfied if you reduced the price just a little bit (for the sake of this person’s contentedness, not because the price was too high). But of course, there should be some justification for the prices you set — for example, nobody will buy your used LEGO set for $100 if he or she can buy the same set (new — on sale) for $80.
Don’t rely on other people’s evaluation. By all means check what other people ask in terms of prices for their stuff, but also always question their evaluation. People who offer used goods online don’t always have something they could base their prices on. Nobody is offering similar items. In such case they have to guess. And oftentimes their assumptions (guesses) are wrong — people might be willing to pay more (sometimes a lot more). And then other people go to this site, find this item (believe that the price was set properly) and adjust (set a similar price). What if the initial price was way off? If you found just one offer similar to yours (especially then) but think that the price is too low then by all means set your own price (even if it’s twice as much, or more). If there is already a price range try to set your price higher (you will be able to lower your price if someone who is interested has good arguments for lowering it), or try to figure out what it would take to be able to ask more money (clean it, make better photos, offer that you will help with the transport, sell it in parts, etc.).
I found this funny story in the book Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. It is about selling stuff to make some money to survive.
I heard queer tales in the hotel. There were tales of dope fiends, of old debauchees who frequented hotels in search of pretty page boys, of thefts and blackmail. Mario told me of a hotel in which he had been, where a chambermaid stole a priceless diamond ring from an American lady. For days the staff were searched as they left work, and two detectives searched the hotel from top to bottom, but the ring was never found. The chambermaid had a lover in the bakery, and he had baked the ring into a roll, where it lay unsuspected until the search was over.
Once Valenti, at a slack time, told me a story about himself.
“You know, mon p’tit, this hotel life is all very well, but it’s the devil when you’re out of work. I expect you know what it is to go without eating, eh? Forcément, otherwise you wouldn’t be scrubbing dishes. Well, I’m not a poor devil of a plongeur; I’m a waiter, and I went five days without eating, once. Five days without even a crust of bread — Jesus Christ!
“I tell you, those five days were the devil. The only good thing was, I had my rent paid in advance. I was living in a dirty, cheap little hotel in the Rue Sainte Éloise up in the Latin quarter. It was called the Hotel Suzanne May, after some famous prostitute of the time of the Empire. I was starving, and there was nothing I could do; I couldn’t even go to the cafes where the hotel proprietors come to engage waiters, because I hadn’t the price of a drink. All I could do was to He in bed getting weaker and weaker, and watching the bugs running about the ceiling. I don’twant to go through that again, I can tell you.
“In the afternoon of the fifth day I went half mad; at least, that’s how it seems to me now. There was an old faded print of a woman’s head hanging on the wall of my room, and I took to wondering who it could be; and after about an hour I realised that it must be Sainte Éloise, who was the patron saint of the quarter. I had never taken any notice of the thing before, but now, as I lay staring at it, a most extraordinary idea came into my head.
“‘Écoute, mon cher,’ I said to myself, ‘you’ll be starving to death if this goes on much longer. You’ve got to do something. Why not try a prayer to Sainte Éloise? Go down on your knees and ask her to send you some money. After all, it can’t do any harm. Try it!’
“Mad, eh? Still, a man will do anything when he’s hungry. Besides, as I said, it couldn’t do any harm. I got out of bed and began praying. I said:
“‘Dear Sainte Éloise, if you exist, please send me some money. I don’t ask for much — just enough to buy some bread and a bottle of wine and get my strength back. Three or four francs would do. You don’t know how grateful I’ll be, Sainte Éloise, if you help me this once. And be sure, if you send me anything, the first thing I’ll do will be to go and burn a candle for you, at your church down the street. Amen.’
“I put in that about the candle, because I had heard that saints like having candles burnt in their honour. I meant to keep my promise, of course. But I am an atheist and I didn’t really believe that anything would come of it.
“Well, I got into bed again, and five minutes later there came a bang at the door. It was a girl called Maria, a big fat peasant girl who lived at our hotel. She was a very stupid girl, but a good sort, and I didn’t much care for her to see me in the state I was in.
“She cried out at the sight of me. ‘Nom de Dieu!’ she said, ‘what’s the matter with you? What are you doing in bed at this time of day? Quelle mine que tu as! You look more like a corpse than a man.’
“Probably I did look a sight. I had been five days without food, most of the time in bed, and it was three days since I had had a wash or a shave. The room was a regular pigsty, too.
“‘What’s the matter?’ said Maria again.
“‘The matter!’ I said; ‘Jesus Christ! I’m starving. I haven’t eaten for five days. That’s what’s the matter.’
“Maria was horrified. ‘Not eaten for five days?’ she said. ‘But why? Haven’t you any money, then?’
“‘Money!’ I said. ‘Do you suppose I should be starving if I had money? I’ve got just five sous in the world, and I’ve pawned everything. Look round the room and see if there’s anything more I can sell or pawn. If you can find anything that will fetch fifty centimes, you’re cleverer than I am.’
“Maria began looking round the room. She poked here and there among a lot of rubbish that was lying about, and then suddenly she got quite excited. Her great thick mouth fell open with astonishment.
“‘You idiot!’ she cried out. ‘Imbecile! What’s this, then?’
“I saw that she had picked up an empty oil bidon that had been lying in the corner. I had bought it weeks before, for an oil lamp I had before I sold my things.
“‘That?’ I said. ‘That’s an oil bidon. What about it?’
“‘Imbecile! Didn’t you pay three francs fifty deposit on it?’
“Now, of course I had paid the three francs fifty. They always make you pay a deposit on the bidon, and you get it back when the bidon is returned. But I’d forgotten all about it.
“‘Yes — — ’ I began.
“‘Idiot!’ shouted Maria again. She got so excited that she began to dance about until I thought her sabots would go through the floor. ‘Idiot! T’es fou! T’es fou!What have you got to do but take it back to the shop and get your deposit back? Starving, with three francs fifty staring you in the face! Imbecile!’
“I can hardly believe now that in all those five days I had never once thought of taking the bidon back to the shop. As good as three francs fifty in hard cash, and it had never occurred to me! I sat up in bed. ‘Quick!’ I shouted to Maria, ‘you take it for me. Take it to the grocer’s at the corner — run like the devil. And bring back food!’
‘Maria didn’t need to be told. She grabbed the bidon and went clattering down the stairs like a herd of elephants, and in three minutes she was back with two pounds of bread under one arm and a half-litre bottle of wine under the other. I didn’t stop to thank her; I just seized the bread and sank my teeth in it. Have you noticed how bread tastes when you have been hungry for a long time? Cold, wet, doughy — like putty almost. But, Jesus Christ, how good it was! As for the wine, I sucked it all down in one draught, and it seemed to go straight into my veins and flow round my body like new blood. Ah, that made a difference!
“I wolfed the whole two pounds of bread without stopping to take breath. Maria stood with her hands on her hips, watching me eat. ‘Well, you feel better, eh?’ she said when I had finished.
“‘Better!’ I said. ‘I feel perfect! I’m not the same man as I was five minutes ago. There’s only one thing in the world I need now — a cigarette.’
“Maria put her hand in her apron pocket. ‘You can’t have it,’ she said, ‘I’ve no money. This is all I had left out of your three francs fifty — seven sous. It’s no good; the cheapest cigarettes are twelve sous a packet.’
“‘Then I can have them!’ I said. ‘Jesus Christ, what a piece of luck! I’ve got five sous — it’s just enough.’
“Maria took the twelve sous and was starting out to the tobacconist’s. And then something I had forgotten all this time came into my head. There was that cursed Sainte Éloise! I had promised her a candle if she sent me money; and really, who could say that the prayer hadn’t come true? ‘Three or four francs,’ I had said; and the next moment along came three francs fifty. There was no getting away from it. I should have to spend my twelve sous on a candle.
“I called Maria back. ‘It’s no use,’ I said; ‘there is Sainte Éloise — I have promised her a candle. The twelve sous will have to go on that. Silly, isn’t it? I can’t have my cigarettes after all.’
“‘Sainte Éloise?’ said Maria. ‘What about Sainte Éloise?’
“‘I prayed to her for money and promised her a candle,’ I said. ‘She answered the prayer — at any rate, the money turned up. I shall have to buy that candle. It’s a nuisance, but it seems to me I must keep my promise.’
“‘But what put Sainte Éloise into your head?’ said Maria.
“‘It was her picture,’ I said, and I explained the whole thing. ‘There she is, you see,’ I said, and I pointed to the picture on the wall.
“Maria looked at the picture, and then to my surprise she burst into shouts of laughter. She laughed more and more, stamping about the room and holding her fat sides as though they would burst. I thought she had gone mad. It was two minutes before she could speak.
“‘Idiot!’ she cried at last.’ ‘T’es fou! T’es fou! Do you mean to tell me you really knelt down and prayed to that picture? Who told you it was Sainte Éloise?’
“‘But I made sure it was Sainte Éloise!’ I said.
“‘Imbecile! It isn’t Sainte Éloise at all. Who do you think it is?’
“‘Who?’ I said.
“‘It is Suzanne May, the woman this hotel is called after.’
“I had been praying to Suzanne May, the famous prostitute of the Empire. . . .
“But, after all, I wasn’t sorry. Maria and I had a good laugh, and then we talked it over, and we made out that Ididn’t owe Sainte Éloise anything. Clearly it wasn’t she who had answered the prayer, and there was no need to buy her a candle. So I had my packet of cigarettes after all.”
Reading (since my last diary entry):
Screams from the Balcony by Charles Bukowski (80 min, on scribd app).
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (80 min, on scribd app).
Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz (80 min, on scribd app).
Audiobooks (since my last diary entry):
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story (40 min, on scribd app).
Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl (60 min, on scribd app).
YouTube videos and movies (since my last diary entry):
Spider-Man: Homecoming (on HBO go) Finished it.
Frida (on HBO go) Finished it.
Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland (on HBO go) Finished it.
Hard as Nails (on HBO go) Finished it.
Escape at Dannemora E1 Part 1 (on HBO go) Finished it.
David Shrigley Interview: Everything That is Bad About Art
Michael Simpson Interview: Odyssey of a Painter
Alex Da Corte Interview: Dancing Around Delusion
Ed Ruscha Interview: A Long Way from Oklahoma
Ryan Gander Interview: To Resist Closure
Kaarina Kaikkonen Interview: A Father, a Mother & a Child
David Hockney Interview: I Am a Space Freak
Sterling Ruby Interview: This Manic Circle
Jim Carrey — I Needed Color — Behind Closed Doors He’s An Amazing Artist
Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH | The Brave Ones
Richard Tuttle Interview: Artists Are Like Clouds
“Have an UNDERDOG Mentality!” — Eminem (@Eminem) — Top 10 Rules
Eminem’s Top 10 Rules For Success
STAN LEE AND THE HERO’S JOURNEY
Charles Bukowski | THE MIND, GO ALL THE WAY ᴴᴰ | Motivational Poem
Charles Bukowski “So, You Want To Be A ??? Don’t Do It” (read by Tom O’B…
Music for this writing session: Eminem (on spotify).