Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Personal Appeal

For over two years now, I have enjoyed running this blog and experimenting with a combination of creative work and traditional essay writing as a vehicle for my activism. It's been an educational process. Not only have I learned about the ways that social justice activism are alternately supported and undermined by the academic research establishment, I have also met more people like myself through this work than I have ever known before.

Running the site comes at a cost, though. While I do have a day job, the work of this writing is actual work. It takes time away from my paying contracts and it takes time away from my larger writing projects. To help increase my output and to bring my blog together with my writing career, I've been running larger and larger scale projects for the last year. It's been great, too--thanks to this blog, I have enough essays to put out a full book of them later this year, and I'm very close to having enough poetry to fill a chapbook.

Still, I'm putting a lot of work and a lot of money into a project that is getting hard to handle, and I can't really afford to keep upping my game if I can't find a way to make this support me.

As I write this, the blog is about to go over 100,000 hits (it will happen sometime this month). I average about 175 unique readers per day, and over 5,000 per month. I'm proud of that. It's not a huge following, but it's bigger than some entire literary journals manage to achieve. At the same time, though, that blog traffic doesn't always translate into book sales, and I do understand that that's normal--people who read blogs might not really be into reading fiction for pleasure, or my particular brand of fiction might not appeal to them as much as my nonfiction does.

I'm not disgruntled. I'm just stating facts.

One of those facts, though, is the fact that I'm putting out a lot of work that is getting read by a lot of people, and I'm finding myself having to choose between continuing that work and seeking other, higher paying work. I have a day job that pays my bills, but I'm going to be real with you: It doesn't pay well. I went from June 2008 to March 2014 without health insurance, and I was in the gap between being Medicaid eligible and being able to actually afford private health insurance.

During that time, I broke my hand more than once. I had a slip and fall accident that dislocated my knee. I have fallen down the stairs twice, and the second time I developed chronic pain that persisted for over a year, affecting my mobility and (for a time) making it unsafe for me to go up and down stairs alone. I recovered from all of these things with a combination of exercise, over-the-counter medication, and patience. I could not seek out medical help without incurring bills that would cost me my house and my vehicle and leave me destitute, and my partner is disabled in a way that precludes being able to work a full time job, so she can't enter the workforce "for" me.

So, when I say that I need to get my work off the ground and find a way to make it pay, I'm not just grousing. I'm trying my hardest to do the work I need to do in a world that is not set up to reward me well for it.

If my Indiegogo campaign gets funded to 100%, then I will be able to do this work without worrying about whether or not I'll go back into debt. I'll be able to afford to see my doctor, not just to pay my insurance premiums. I'll be able to push through the summer without incurring a lot of new debt, and it will be the first time in seven years that that has happened for me.

I know that people in our community don't always have a lot of money to give. That's fine. Even if you can only send me $1.00, if everyone who reads my blog in a day did that, then I would make $175 per day until the end of the campaign--far more than the amount I'm actually asking for in the campaign.

If you read this, please consider contributing a dollar. If you can do more, then I'd be happy for it, and I have some great perks lined up for people who want to get something back for their cash. Even if you can only afford the dollar, though, a large number of small donations will make the campaign active enough to hit Indiegogo's top campaigns listings, and that will help the project get exposure.

This isn't a "give me money or I put up ads" message. If I decide to put advertising on this site, it will be because I've decided to do it. It's also not a "pay me or I stop writing" message. You all know I can't stop writing, even if I wanted to do it. This is what I am.

This is the "shit I don't talk about but now I'm going to" message. I've pulled myself up by my bootstraps so hard that they broke. I've managed to fund a house, find a job, and hold my small family together without any support past that which was available to me for free as a student. I've taken damage to my body that might not be reparable at this point.

I'm done trying to keep quiet and persevere. This is what I've been through, and if you pay for my work, you can help me to get out of this situation and into a better one. That is all.

Indiegogo project link: http://igg.me/at/mmonjejr/x/6834826