You can do this. You’ve always been able to do this. You’re a writer-person with an English degree and an MFA. You know you can do this. You want to go to law school. You need to go to law school. You look at your bank account and see the numbers in there, numbers that you must understand in order to hold onto your home and feed the dog. Numbers that, when put together, tell a story in a different voice, a shorter voice, a voice that is usually read by more people than your mother. You see, those little symbols and digits that come after the alphabet are called numbers. People who add and subtract and balance their bank accounts use words like “calculus” and “trigonometry,” and they understand numbers. We know it’s hard. We know it hurts your face when you think about the numbers, but come on, power-up and and give this thing a shot.

- - -

Question 1

A group of poets, novelists, screenwriters, and one essayist meet for coffee in Greenpoint (or, if you prefer, Silver Lake or maybe even the Mission District). Of the writers, two are also lawyers. They’ve been tasked by a team of editors to schedule a launch party for the publication of a new online literary journal.

The following restrictions apply:

  • There must be at least one representative from each group in the reading.
  • The screenwriter also hopes to be a novelist.
  • The novelist is also an essayist, though secretly wishes to be poet.
  • The launch party must start and end with the poet. No exceptions.
  • An editor must be involved in every equation.
  • The screenwriters must work with at least two other writers at all times.
  • The editor, novelist, poet, and essayist are all writing things they want to share with the screenwriter.
  • The poet and an essayist must overlap at least once during a reading, but cannot occupy continuous time slots.

1. If the screenwriter renders the work of a novelist unrecognizable, what are the possibilities for collaboration in the future?

a. Some, but only after the novelist learns to master the logic game and goes to law school to learn how to sue.
b. None.
c. Infinite, provided the screenwriter made the novelist understand what the number zero is in a bank account.
d. Infinite, the collaboration was full of glee and positivity.
e. Irrelevant, because the screenwriter and the novelist don’t know each other.

2. If only one editor and one novelist show up at the launch, how will a poet and an essayist read?

a. The poet and the essayist are also novelists.
b. The screenwriter is a lawyer.
c. The editor will read for all.
d. The poet and the essayist are also editors and novelists.
e. The novelist is a screenwriter, an essayist, and a poet and a lawyer.

3. Which of the following could be a possible reading order for the launch?

a. Screenwriter, poet, editor, poet, novelist
b. Poet, editor, novelist, essayist, poet
c. Poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, novelist, poet
d. Screenwriter, screenwriter, screenwriter, novelist, novelist, poet
e. Editor, screenwriter, novelist, editor, poet

Question 2

Twenty-five artists recently graduated from a liberal arts university and are looking for day jobs with flexibility. Five are writers, five are painters, one is a sculptor, two are dancers, two are musicians, and ten are actors. They need to fill out their weekly schedules while still permitting the thrill of ingenuousness to win out over early-onset cynicism.

The following restrictions apply:

  • All twenty-five graduates have student debt.
  • Only two graduates have family money.
  • Seven graduates come from artsy families.
  • Three will find early success in their twenties.
  • The writers’ and artists’ work sometimes overlaps.
  • Only twelve graduates are willing to work in food service.

1. Within a few years, half of the graduates will move coasts. What will they be doing?

a. All the writers will move to New York, but leave after three years.
b. Five artists will move to California and work as assistants.
c. The dancers, painters, and sculptor will move home and transform their old bedrooms into workspaces.
d. Two writers will publish short essays in online magazines about the time they got a tattoo and lost their dog and tried to join the Peace Corps.
e. All writers, poets, and artists will apply to graduate school.

2. The musicians, artists, and dancers all have nearly $100,000 of student debt. What type of work will they be required to pursue in order to make ends meet?

a. The musicians and artists will on occasion sell their hair.
b. The dancers will work at weddings and Bar-Mitzvahs to raise energy levels and awareness for tween obesity.
c. The writers will pursue MFA degrees and tip the student debt pile to nearly $200,000.
e. The musicians, artists, dancers, and writers take up real estate on the side.

3. The youngest writer publishes a novel before she is 30. What do the twenty-four other artists-recently-graduated-from a liberal arts university do to honor her?

a. Congratulate the writer publicly on Facebook, Twitter, and even in person.
b. Snicker behind the writer’s back, claiming it was nepotism.
c. Buy the writer’s book, but refuse to read it, save the acknowledgements in the back, hoping to find their names.
d. Genuinely cry with joy that the writer’s hard work has paid off.
e. Take the LSAT and apply to law school.