|Click above to donate!|"It's hard to be famous and alive. I just want to play music every day and hear someone say, 'Thanks, that was great, here's some money, same time tomorrow, okay?'"
- Terry Pratchett, from Soul Music
Lovely, beautiful, generous readers.... have you been working out? Seriously, you're looking really good these days, at least ten years younger than you are (you're in your early thirties, right?). Your hair always looks fantastic. And have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy your company? Always so witty and interesting — you must be the joy and envy of all your many friends. Also, I heard that your spouse/offspring/pet did really well in that thing he or she was doing, and I know that you must be so proud — though I bet they have you to thank for all your encouragement and support. You know, speaking of support....
I've been thinking recently, especially after my little crisis back in September, that it's time for a bit of a shake-up around the old blog. I have visions in my head of a truly marvelous semi-magazine layout, with feature articles, more frequent guest posts, an expanded resources page, maybe a poetry and lectio divina column... And, most thrilling of all, a domain name. O so professional.
Of course, I've been blogging here at meadowsweet-myrrh dot blogspot dot com for several years now, fast approaching my three-hundreth post, and the sheer number of pages published here could easily fill a couple sizable books. Meanwhile, the number of you wonderful readers has crept up and up, especially over the last year. Many of you keep coming back because, let's be frank, you are wise and well-read people who recognize good writing when you read it — but more importantly, at least I hope anyway, you can tell when a person has poured her heart and soul into the work she shares, and you are kind and empathetic folks as well as being intelligent and sharp as a tack.
Which brings me to the point of this post. You see, I love what I do. I absolutely love sitting down to my computer and banging out (or coaxing out, or dragging out, or bleeding out) a new blog post to share with you good people. With this blog as a platform for conversation and community, I can't remember the last time I experienced what's commonly called "writer's block." Writer's block! Ha! I am overburdened with thoughts and poetry and contemplations that I am longing to throw joyfully to the wind like so many wild-eyed skylarks ready to make for freedom at the top of their tiny lungs. Writing isn't always easy — it's a joy, it's a calling, it's a vital imperative.... but it's not always easy. Especially when responsibility comes knocking reminding me that I sh/could be earning a salary at a 9-to-5 like everyone else.
When I was a little girl, I used to dream about being a famous author of a New York Times Bestseller someday — but as I grew older and wiser, I began to understand what Pratchett meant when he wrote, "It's hard to be famous and alive." Maybe this quote from a letter Jack Kerouac wrote back in 1961 says it best:
I can just see the shabby literary man carrying a "bulging briefcase" rushing from one campus to another, one lecture club to another, nodding confirmation with his hosts that he is right, hurrying to the next town ... a whole gray career of proving himself to others, to as many as can hear him, that he was right ... till finally people say: "Here comes the self-prover again, O dear ... bring out the papers and the canapes."
This my friend is what I will become if I accept all lecture offers, TV appearances, radio interviews and start arranging with reviewers and critics who want information and my books through me, a great long lifetime in a briefcase proving my work and my work itself stopped dead at the level where I took to proving myself. So, I say, life is too sweet to waste on self propaganda, I quit self promotion, I enter my page.
I don't want to have to always be proving myself, or promoting myself — life is too sweet, and I don't have that kind of time. Yet, though I may never make a living at it, I love to write. I love "entering my page" and diving deep, and then surfacing again with some small treasure like a tumbled-smooth bit of sea glass that I can offer to you readers, so that perhaps you will say "Ooo" and "Ahhh" — so that you, too, will know and remember that life is sweet. I just want, to paraphrase Pratchett, to write every day and hear someone say, "Thanks, that was great, here's some money — same time tomorrow." To just settle down into the daily work of the page and, every once in a while, hear those words. Wouldn't that be nice?
Now, my crazy/lovely fiancé has a theory. He thinks that most readers out there really do want to support their favorite writers, and will jump at the chance to give back in thanks for all their hard work. His readers have proved him right on numerous occasions when, out of the blue, a grateful fan will avail themselves of the "donate button" on his website. He insists that, if I just let people — if I just give them a quick and easy way to do it — my own darling readers will rise to the occasion.
So I want to propose a deal to you, lovely, loyal, generous readers. I'm going to make it quick and easy for you to show your gratitude and appreciation, and to contribute to the continued flourishing and overall improvement of Meadowsweet & Myrrh, and I'm going to do it by hosting a "donation drive" between now and the winter solstice. There will be a "donate" button in the sidebar of the blog, but only for a little while. That's the deal. I'm not going to have a donation button always lurking in your peripheral vision making you feel guilty or pressured — I want you to be able to visit Meadowsweet & Myrrh freely whenever you like without worrying about that. And I don't want to forever be wondering when someone's going to stop by and throw me a bone or two. So, a few weeks of fundraising fun and mayhem — and then I'll take the donation button down again, and we can all get back to living in the blissful open-source utopia of the interweb dreamscape.
Sound all right? ...what's that you say? You want me to sweeten the deal? Well, all right then! How about....
Friends of Meadowsweet
The way I figure it, if each of you contributes a single dollar, I can afford to transfer this blog to its own domain, fix it up real nice and fancy-like, and host it comfortably for another three years without worry to cost. (Yeah, that's right — there are a lot of you out there!) Now, research suggests that for a fundraising drive like this, it's likely that only 10% of readers will actually decide to donate — but even if that's true, if that 10% donates, say, ten dollars each, then we're still doing really well! And $10 isn't that much — it's a sandwich and soda at the local sub place, or a night out at the movies... just one night, a couple hours of entertainment at most, with sticky floors and some obnoxious teens sitting behind you txting on their cell phones and knocking their knees into the back of your seat, and when was the last time you saw a really good movie out in theaters, anyway, right? Besides... it's Christmas (sorta).
So, if you can donate $10, that's fantastic! If you can't, but you still want to give something — every little bit helps, and it's way cooler to be part of the 10% that give than the 90% that don't (your friends all think you're that cool a person, and so do I).
For folks who really want to go above and beyond, though (or who have something to prove), let's make it $25, shall we? Twenty-five bucks, and I'll gladly brag about how awesome you are here on the blog, and even link to your website if you have one. In fact, I'll dedicate a page to celebrating the greatness and generosity of spirit of all you fantastic Friends of Meadowsweet.
And if that's not enough for you and you really want to get crazy — a $50 or more donation, and I'll send you — I'm not even kidding — this awesome tote bag-slash-reusable grocery bag designed by yours truly (or, if you don't need yet another tote bag, maybe we can talk about some other fantabulous gift, like a handcrafted travel altar, a set of prayer beads, or perhaps a print of your favorite Keeping the Days photograph).
Now I realize only a very special select few of you could even possibly consider giving that much. That's cool. Remember, all it takes is a single dollar from each of you, and Meadowsweet & Myrrh has a bright future ahead. So please do consider giving! And thank you again, all you amazing readers, not only for your generous support but for your pleasant company and thoughtful engagement!