A native of Madison, Wisconsin, writer Matt Gajewski has lived in Miami since 2002. He is the creator of the 90.5 WVUM radio program Pure Imagination, which features short stories and improvised narratives set to music by Miami-based composers. He also plays guitar in the band Sirens & Sealions. He's currently at work on a graphic novel and won the last Literary Death Match at Churchill's. Although all of that results in clapping, praise, and the occasional medal, it doesn't keep Gajewski fed and clothed. Here's how he makes it all work.
New Times: What job do you have to pay the bills?
Matt Gajewski: Substitute teaching at a public high school and teaching after school piano, guitar, bass, and drum lessons.
Does it help or hurt your art?
Both. I didn't actually know how to play the drums until I started
teaching extremely small children how to play them, and working at a
public high school gives me endless material for fiction. At the same
time, 13-hour workdays do not enhance the writing process.
What is the best thing about having a day job? Worst?
Best: I get to not live in a van down by the river.
Worst: School starts at 7:15 am.
How bad/good are you at your day job?
I've had lots of students tell me that I'm their favorite substitute
teacher, and I can get preteen children to play Elton John's "Crocodile
Rock" and Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69." Maybe those aren't the best
yardsticks by which success is measured, but they're something.
Have you ever blurred the lines of your day job and dream job?
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At 7:15 in the morning, everything is blurry.
Have you planned your exit (F-you F-you, you're cool, I'm out..sort of thing)?
The dismissal bell will ring, and I will step back into the sea from whence I came.