Product Placement: “Nancy” by Amanda Blake

I have long held the belief that when you get a cool freelance writing gig, it’s important to invest part of the proceeds.

Not in stock. In merch. Something that will remind you of a positive writing experience, every time you look at it. When I sold a piece to salon.com years ago about how it’s hard to name your kids when you’ve used up all the good names on the pets, I bought myself a red leather Kate Spade organizer, which I only recently gave up for Google’s calendar.

(You can read the piece at http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature/2002/03/08/pet_names/index.html — and no, I still haven’t learned the link thing.)

Sometimes the purchases are not as auspicious. Ditto for the assignments. Earlier this year, I used the money from a Travel & Leisure assignment (which I will NOT link to here) to pay my Visa bill.

But when I got the check from “This American Life” last week, I knew what I was going to buy, and it’s something very special.

Now, I need to say here that I felt incredibly guilty, taking money from public radio. True confession: For years, I’d time my contributions during the pledge drives to TAL, so I could call in to donate in answer to Ira’s plea. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to beckon a little karma.

And it worked!

I do have bills to pay with much of my TAL check, but I intend to use part of it for this year’s donation. I used another small hunk to buy a piece from Amanda Blake, who so graciously agreed to let me use the image of “Beth” for Girl in a Party Hat. (And big thanks to Deborah, who suggested the name.)

Nancy will be arriving any day now, but I’m so psyched I had to show her off immediately (I also don’t know how to size photos — still — but here’s a bit of an idea), and give Amanda a plug: She’s got more little girls on wood for sale, on etsy.com. You can check her out at amandablakeart.com

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