Mark Terry

Friday, February 22, 2008

The $270 Million Friday Post

February 22, 2008
I hear that the Lotto here in Michigan is worth $270 million and will be drawn tonight.

This comes on top of the fact that the gas station on the corner where I fill up the tank recently sold a $100,000 ticket--that has not been claimed!

Well, here's your Friday challenge, folks. What would you do if you won tonight's lottery?

Me? I know my wife would quit her job in heartbeat. I don't think we'd move. But we'd probably get new furniture and new carpet, etc.

Oh, and we'd probably buy a vacation home on either Higgins Lake or Lake Michigan. And a boat. And a Jet Ski (or two or three or four) and a couple more kayaks.

I would push for a Disney World condo. We've also never been to Hawaii, so I'd like to spend some time there considering real estate options. It would also be time to get those passports ready and start seeing the world. And I'd kind of like to live in Texas and in Washington DC for a while.

I'd buy a couple good guitars. Maybe a new vehicle. A Suburu Outback? Or a sports car. Or both?

Ah, but Mark, would you still write?

Let me tell ya. Years and years ago I remember reading a column on writing by Lawrence Block who commented that if he suddenly discovered oil in his backyard, he might never write again. I remember being pissed about that. Here I was, wanting to be a novelist more than anything, and here was a successful novelist saying he'd give it up without much of a backward glance.


I don't know. I love my life, but I'm not driven to write business reports about the clinical lab industry or practice management articles for podiatrists. It's something I do, I enjoy it, it's a living, but if I didn't have to write those things, would I? My suspicion is that as soon as I got pissed off at a client about something--like a rewrite or a lack of focus on the initial assignment, both of which are haunting me at the moment--that I'd look at that bank account and say, "Fuck it. I'm outta here."

What about fiction?

I'd probably continue to write. Would I bother with the publishing industry? Don't know.

Maybe I would become a publisher. Although I think small presses that focus on fiction are insane (it's gotta be love, because it sure doesn't make business sense), I could envision publishing books about  health or history or something like that.

Or maybe, hey, turn to screenwriting. Open a small production company, start the Terry Entertainment  Empire.

Of course, I'd want to put some money away for my sons, but when would I let them access it? That would take some thought. I'd want them to go out and pursue their interests for a while before having money dumped in their laps. Not having to work when you're young, that's destructive. See Paris Hilton if you need an example.

Hmmm, so many possibilities...

How about you?

Mark Terry


Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Love this game. :-)

I would buy a horse farm with two guest houses. One for my parents, one for my best friend. She would never work another day in her life. I'd take care of my dad (blind)--the guest house would be tricked out with cool stuff for a blind guy--HUGE TV screen (he can make out some things) . . . everything voice activated.

I would go back to college to get a PhD in either quantum physics or comparative religion (likely the latter as I am not sure I could hack a physics degree academically--a bit rusty).

Horses for said horse farm. A cow or two. Chickens. Organic garden. Few more dogs. A few cats.

Adopt three or four kids. (To add to the four I have.)

That's it. Grow old with my family around. I'd never write another word.

I've thought about it. I love writing. But I could happily blog about my kids for the rest of my life and flex my creativity. I like being a MOM a lot more than being a writer. A writer is how I earn my living. And it's who I am. But I don't NEED books to be that.

So that's it. :-)

P.S. If it was the whole 270 million (a LOT of dough!!) . . . a foundation to give away a chunk of it.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I'm pretty sure I'd end up with a bunch more dogs. No more kids, thanks. I'll spoil the grandkids if and when they show up.

One of the most complicated things psychologically is the very real possibility that, yes, I would never bother writing for publication again. I'd probably still write, although I'm increasingly aware there is an entire world (universe) of activities and things to explore that may fulfill me just as much.

And yes, $270M is a lot of money.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Allie said...

Oh this is fun!

I think all I'd do is write. No more laundry, no more vacuuming, doing dishes, cooking. I would write fiction and travel and live in a house with a minuscule carbon footprint and never again feel like there are 10 other things I should have attended to before I sit down to work.


7:22 AM  
Anonymous John S said...

Several good guitars, including a big red Guild Starfire like the one I once had to sell because I needed the money. And a Fender bass, a few mandolins, and a banjo.

And instead of a big expensive car, I'd buy several nice modest cars. Like eight or ten of them. And when I got tired of one, I'd move on to the next.

7:52 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

I love this game, too. I'd get a Ford F-350 and a fifth-wheeler, stick a TV satellite and an internet satellite on top, and live on the road.

Or no, with $270 million, I'd have a coach custom built with a place for my piano. I'd buy a house on a beach in San Diego. I'd buy a shiny new laptop, a Kindle, and a Sony Reader. I'd set up trust funds for my nieces and nephews. I'd do a bunch of micro-loans, because I think those are both empowering and effective.

I'd probably pick up the cello or violin. And I'd write. But I'd still write for publication. I write and I play to connect with an audience, however big or small that audience might be.

Like you said the other day, I think a writer needs to create and express himself. The how doesn't matter as much as the creating and expressing.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might very well move to a warmer climate, or maybe just buy a better situated house and an all-wheel drive vehicle! I'd pay for my nephew's education and try to convince my brother to take enough so he could retire immediately. (fat chance) I would be retiring. I don't like travel per se, but I would like to see the world and maybe with that kind of money I could travel in a way I'd find comfortable. Almost certainly I would spend practically every weekend at an orienteering meet. I also might go back to college -- not to get a degree but to monitor courses and learn about things that interest me and get to interact with the profs.

Would I write? Well, I can't imagine not "writing." I used to draw comics before I could read. I'd write something. But books for publication? I doubt it. I might write exactly what I felt like and see if anyone wanted to publish it. I like writing for an audience so probably I'd put stuff online and see if I could get people to read it for free. I love writing. I've done more writing than anything else, but I do not define myself as "A Writer" let alone "An Author."

9:46 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

John S
--for acoustic, probably a medium-price Martin (if I could just stop with one). For an electric, quite possibly a higher-end Paul Reed Smith.

--Getting out of housework. Yes, hello Molly Maid.

--No thanks on the motor home thing, not my cup of tea. I've thought a lot about microloans recently, too. And I can see that with that kind of money the urge to try and set up something that would do some good.

--I was wondering if there would be people who would do MORE of things or take risks. In your case, orienteering if you had the time and money.

What I was wondering but haven't seen yet was anybody deciding to open a business now that the idea of financial risk is gone. Interesting...

10:31 AM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

Given enough money I'd start another insane publishing company, pay big advances, and pass it on when I go to Heaven with the stipulation that it always remain independent.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Josephine Damian said...

The FL lottery ws 37 million this week and I won a whopping $4.50. - at least it covered what I'd spent on tickets. lol

Open a small production company, start the Terry Entertainment Empire.

Well, I know where to send my screenplays now.

Me? I'd still finish grad school no matter what. Then move to north FL so I'll have a place to stay in the winter, and buy a house in Charlottesville, VA.

I'd fly by private jet only. I'd take singing lessons, and have a live-in pet-sitter/vet nurse. I'd set up charities and give some money to family. I'd also become a political activist. I'd also like to fly around around the country working the really difficult criminal cases - offer my services for free.

Write? Yeah, but I'd still crave the validation of the biz - I'd never self-publish - no amount of money could erase the shame of putting badly edited writing out there in the world (if only the self-published "authors" in my writing group felt that way).

7:30 AM  
Blogger Reenie said...

I gave up writing without a lottery win. :) But I continue to love words and continue to blog and would continue.

Hmmmm. I am not much into traveling either. I do like cruises, though, and would indulge. I like the cars I have, thank you, but I’d have the money for tweaks and repairs. I am so over fancy cars. I just want dependability – getting from A to B.

I would be insanely generous with my children. Give them more than enough to pay off mortgages, educate their children, or go on cruises. Yeah, that’s what I’d do. I cruised the Panama Canal once and have daydreamed since of taking my children and their children on that particular cruise. Yeah, that’s what I’d do.

Art. I collect art.

Entertaining. I love to entertain but would also have the money to hire someone to help serve and clean-up. Yeah, that’s what I’d do.

Philanthropic interests would benefit from my generous nature.

Oh and some pricey spa retreat. Yeah, that would be nice. Massages, facials, beautiful meals aimed at weight loss. Aroma therapeutic steam baths or saunas. Ahhhhhhhh.

Good heavens, what a deliciously cruel exercise you’ve made us do. Thanks.

11:17 AM  

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