Right at the moment, “duty” makes me think of tax and levies.
This morning I had to call the ATO to ask them a very boring and complicated question regarding ABNs for non-residents for tax purposes. Quite unnervingly, a real, live, human answered the phone straight away. This probably only happens when you ring the special number designated for “overseas callers”, which I will always do from now on, no matter where I’m calling from. Ha!
The nice man told me that indeed I needed an ABN, which could be easily acquired online. This last part isn’t true. The only web browsers you can use to fill out the online form are Internet Explorer 5 and 6 or Netscape. Did you know that Netscape still exists? I didn’t. And its default home page is AOL, which I also didn’t know still exists. It’s been an educational morning. Thank you, ATO.
The reason I apparently need an ABN is because I am, for the first time, earning Australian money as a writer. “Hark”, you say. “Have you written a cover story for The Monthly, Tabitha?” No, dear friend, it’s much better than that.
My blog post about going to the local market is going to feature in a textbook called “English is… Year 10”. It is… The height of literary glory.
The publisher wrote to request copyright permission, and I wrote back saying I’m a real, live, writer and it says so on my marriage certificate and everything, so I demand payment, which, according to the Australian Society of Authors’ website, is $267. And then they wrote back saying “Sure thing” and now I have to get an ABN and pretend like I had one all along because I’m a real, live, writer.
And then 20,000 Year 10 students will have to answer questions about my blog post like “How is the theme of ‘journeys’ evident in this piece of writing?” And they will probably wonder how a blog post ends up in a textbook anyway, which is a source of great wonder to me, also.
In other duty-related news, did you know that poets get paid $3 per line for published work? Do not become poets, people. Or if you do, make sure to spread the words over many lines.