Collectively and individually, they make my heart soar. Such flight of fancy language, but I’m not exaggerating. To know that these ten people care enough about the work that we do here to make a monthly commitment, an investment is humbling. That sort of investment wasn’t even a thing when I started blogging in December 2005.
Mind you, I don’t offer special rewards to sustaining donors. I do write letters to them that I will publish at a later date on my blog.
I’m writing this because I earned three of those Patreon donors just this past week. That’s remarkable timing as this week I finally was able to terminate my fiscal sponsorship relationship with Persad Center – a feat that took months to finalize and leaves my unable to properly crowdfund or seek grants for AMPLIFY or our other art projects.
I am left asking you to just, literally, give me money directly. That feels awkward and uncomfortable. But it is necessary.
Blogging is not the same as journalism although some journalists do blog. We used to be called ‘new social media’ but I prefer blog. Blog describes my content pretty well, whether it is the #AMPLIFY project or cat photos or breaking stories from Armstrong County about white supremacy. Some of those posts rise to the standard of journalism, others are essays or simply whimsical art with words and images.
Creating blog content has never been a stepping stone to a career in journalism for me. It was always about community organizing and social work, including the community art. I don’t argue that I appreciate the feedback, encouragement, acknowledgement and so forth, but right now my aspiration is to keep the blog running and continue our assorted community projects.
Monthly donors make it happen. My webhosting fees are now $25/month and will be increasing soon because of the vast quantity of data attached to 14+ years of blogging. I spend another $150/month on subscriptions and software and so forth. The ads you see average about $70/month in revenue. So I’m paying out of pocket for all of this. And I do it because it matters. The work matters.
I am constantly appealing to friends and family to help me figure out how to sustain this work. It is a perpetual struggle.
I have several projects in place right now and a few ready to roll out. There’s always something new to explore, some piece of our shared experiences that doesn’t quite make it into the mainstream media. We are the site publishing Q&A’s with recently elected openly LGBTQ elected officials in Pennsylvania. We are the site publishing Q&A’s with LGBTQ organizers in rural communities. We are paying attention to Drag Queen Story Hour and performance art by local queer artists. Some others do these things, but few of them are queer gazes much less the unique intersections of my identities – queer, fat, disabled, cis female, middle-aged white lady.
So, yes, I feel good when someone values that work enough to invest a few dollars each month or even just one time. It isn’t necessary, but it is essential to keep this work going. And to keep me going. The world is just going to get harder in the coming years. We are in this together and I will never take that for granted.
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