I wrote awhile ago about the ads on my site and the reaction I got to them. Since then I got another email from the same person, a wonderful person and a new soul sister in my life, and she spoke more in depth about what she meant, and how the ads made her feel. She also said that I am the product, which struck a chord at that moment, since I had just been comparing how many likes and comments my selfie with lavender hair had received on Facebook, compared to my most heartfelt writing. I am not my hair, I thought to myself (and thank God for that), and I am not my face, or my glasses. I really truly am the words I write. I am a writer. I have identified as a writer since pretty early in elementary school, and that has never stopped, whatever the title may have been by which I have earned my daily bread.
And I love words myself. I love beautiful words, strung together in a way that makes me stop reading for just a moment, that makes me stop breathing for just a moment. I’m not a general music fan, and part of the reason is because I find that too often there are these beautiful words whose meaning is totally obscured by a melody with a completely different message. (Or worse, there are meaningless words sung repetitively to a beat.) But when the words and the music soar together, my own heart soars and I can listen to the same song a million times.
My new friend suggested that perhaps I charge a fee for access to my blog, even just $4.95 a month, but of course I would never do that. I want everybody to read my words! I want to set them in front of everybody and say, stay here until you have read this! I might pay people to read them if I could! If the internet didn’t exist, perhaps I would Xerox them off and hand them out! Okay, maybe not, but the point is that the internet does exists. There is a forum called Patreon, which kind of allows other artists to do what musicians have traditionally done when they have performed on the street with their guitar case open for donations. I love the introductory video they show you when you sign up for Patreon. It points out what a wonderful time we are living in, where artists of all types are free to create and to share their creations with the entire world through the internet and other modern technology. Remember back in the old days, when there were just a few stars in each area of the arts, and you would have to travel to a store and buy their music or writing or artwork if you wanted to enjoy it? Now instead of a few stars there are massive constellations of artists out there, sharing their art on the internet for free to little. The only problem, the video goes on to point out, is that nobody is getting paid for it! There are still those few stars making megabucks, and then there are the throngs of writers and musicians, artists and filmmakers, who are just giving it away.
Now for me, writing is not a chore, because I love it. And I have plenty of time for it at the moment. That is part of my problem, though, that plenty of time. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, God and the universe seem to have been conspiring to keep me from getting a job, because every single time I think, “Oh, this journey through cancer is coming to an end in X number of days and then I will look for a job,” I find out that it is not in fact ending, that there is in fact another surgery that has to be done, and has to wait for a few months until the previous treatment heals. Then, of course, the big bad scary seizure came along, and now I can’t drive for likely six months. Each time this happens I think, well, I guess God isn’t finished with me yet. There is something else I am supposed to be doing. I pretty much think that is writing, although there are a few other important things I have been doing with my time at home that may still need tending to. So I keep putting one foot in front of another. I am, yes I am I swear going to put more concerted effort into accomplishing the writing thing, including my book. Some things are ready to be written now that weren’t before. And I am going to try to write more in my blogs. This is the third one this week!
But meanwhile, this cancer journey has eaten up all the money I had, and I’m living paycheck to paycheck, or rather early retirement social security check to social security check, and if you get one of those you know what that means! So I have been trying to find a way to make money from home. My friend’s comment that I am the product came in response to my remark that I’d tried a couple of direct sales routes, even products I personally believed in, and sold nothing, and that I had written about books I loved on my blogs, with Amazon links that would have paid me a few pennies if anybody had clicked on them and bought the books. It made sense to me, because I always click on the link and buy the books! But from all that I made a big fat nada, or so close to it as to not matter. So, my friend said, I am the product, not the oils or books, and I am my words.
One day perhaps my own book will be finished and we will see whether people are actually willing to plunk down their dollars to read my words. But in the meantime, I figured I would try setting up a Patreon, for those of you who might want to support the flow of these words which I am giving away for free. I have a fair number of visitors to my website. They might be the same people every day, but even so, if each person gave just $4.00 a month, it would go a long way towards helping me to pay my bills, including medical bills for me, veterinary bills for my dogs, dental bills that I really need to start running up, as well as food, utilities, mortgage and all the rest of the stuff. I do have a husband who does work really hard, but you all likely know that in this day and age, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area where I have lived for the last 50 years, one income doesn’t cut it, unless you are a tech wiz, which nobody here is.
It’s honestly kind of embarrassing to do this. I love my words, not always, but often enough to think I have something of value to offer the world. And not my words only, but the struggles which animate my words, and Lord knows I’ve had plenty of those. I hope that I have something of value to offer the world. I had a beautiful daughter, a truly shining light in the world. I miss her and grieve her loss every day in a million different ways. But she is still here, as well. She is part of me, part of my heart and my soul. She transformed my very identity twice, on the day she was born, and on the day she left. Whether my writing is directly about her or not, she is there in every word, because they are me and she has made me who I am in very large part. I can tell you how scary love is, how deeply and everlastingly dark and painful it is, but also how everlastingly brilliant and worthwhile it is. My cancer journey, my confrontation with the reality of my own mortality, not just for myself, but for those I love, this is who I am. The values of my life, my search for truth, and God’s relentless love for me: these are things that have given my words life. The bottom line is that I want to bring healing to the world. I want you, everyone, to know that it is okay. You will be okay. Look at me: I’m here, still standing, or at least sitting on my bed with a laptop, believing in the goodness and value of life, and in tomorrow.
Anyway, I hope first of all that you will just read my words. And if you find any value in them, if you would consider supporting them with a Patreon pledge of even the tiniest amount, even $4.00 a month, it would help not only with my bills, but with reinforcing to me that my words are actually of value to someone besides myself.
Thank you so much. You can make a pledge at Patreon.com/sharonmurch.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. And remember, you are loved.