In 1982, I moved back to the U.S. after wandering the world for awhile. The Boston Phoenix gave me safe harbor and for that I will always be grateful. The paper gave me some steady freelance assignments and even found me a grunt work part time job doing something or other so I could pay my rent – a room I shared with four people in a tripledecker in Somerville, a room I found through the Phoenix’s classified ads. So it was sad to read today that the Phoenix is folding.
My year working at the Phoenix was one of the hardest I can recall, as I barely eked out a living. I remember taking a shoebox of receipts to an accountant who prepared taxes for various Phoenix people. I was terrified I would be saddled with a big tax bill but the accountant informed me that I had earned a whopping $6,000 and the IRS would be paying me. But I met some really talented people at the Phoenix, some of whom went out of their way to help a young writer…Gail Caldwell, who later won a Pulitzer at the Globe was one of them. Editor Richard Gaines was another. Beyond that, the Phoenix had a distinctive voice and niche in Boston, truly an alternative to the Globe. RIP old friend.