The Nature of the Catastrophe

One of the hardest things to do, I think, is ask others for help, even when we really, really need it. We don’t want to feel like we’re a burden, like we’re taking advantage of people. This is especially true when it comes to money. In the US, there’s a powerful undercurrent of thought that if we’re having money problems, it’s because we screwed up in some way, we brought it on ourselves, we deserve it, it’s our own damn fault and it’s nobody else’s problem. It think that’s bunk, but because I grew up here, it’s hard for me to get past the guilt of needing help with money.

But I’m asking for help anyway.

I’m living paycheck-to-paycheck. Bills are piling up. Berkie and I are trying to find a place to live, and we’ll definitely save money living together, but even coming up with the money for a deposit it looking difficult and stressing us out. Julie and I want to legally get divorced, but she’s also living life on the financial edge, and scraping up the money for court fees is difficult. And I just got slammed with taxes. I can’t possibly pay what I owe right now. All of this is amping up my anxiety to stupid levels and making me physically sick.

So I’m asking for help.

I currently have a little over 1,400 followers on Twitter. It occurred to me that if half that number gave me $10, I’d be well on the way to getting out of this financial hole. Really, if I can just raise $300, I’ll be in a position to get back on my feet. I don’t think $10 is all that much. I’ve given more than that to political groups, charities and to friends when they were in financial need. Asking for $10 doesn’t make me feel so bad.

But I’d also like to turn this crisis into an opportunity. Let this be not just a catastrophe in the sense of being a disaster, but also a mathematical catastrophe, a change in the dynamic of my life.

I recently had the idea that I’d like to put together a book of poetry. I quite like a number of my older poems and I like the poems I’ve written lately. Putting together a whole book of poems that I would publish myself is something I’d very much like to do. But I’d like to have more written than I already do. I want to push myself to write more.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m putting a Paypal donation button on my blog. People can donate or not, as they choose. And they can donate as little or as much as they want. In return (and in appreciation) of your donation, I’ll send you one of my poems, handwritten just for you. Suitable for framing, making a paper airplane, origami or whatever. It might be one of my older poems, it might be a brand-new one. Maybe it will be a one-page prose-poem or micro-story. But if you want something, make sure you put your address in the donation information.

I hate that it’s come to this. But I also know that we can’t get through life without relying on each other. So…there we are.

And thank you.

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16 thoughts on “The Nature of the Catastrophe

  1. Hey, bud. I just sent you a little your way. I used my wife and my Paypal account. I look forward to your poetry, and I’m happy you asked for a little help now to avoid BIG PROBLEMS later on.

  2. Thanks, Brendan. I really appreciate it. And you’re right, better to ask for help now than wait for things to get even worse.

  3. sent you something but neglected to include address. email me for addy

  4. Email sent. Thank you, Susan!

  5. done and done, my friend. *hugest hugs*

  6. Thank you, Holly. *hugs*

  7. I’m actually not doing that badly.

  8. Sent a bit, and I got a message on Facebook that at least one of my friends who doesn’t know you sent some as well. To quote him: “his work on the JoCo Library website alone is worth a tip. Superb execution on a massive upgrade.”

    Not sure if my Tweet helped any, but I hope it did.

  9. I feel your pain. It seems like every librarian I know has a part time job in addition to the full time one. You may want to check with the different library systems around town to see if they are hiring substitutes anytime soon. That is a good flexible job that can give you lots of extra income if you are a good worker. Also, when I decided to see about getting out from under my part time job I checked with my employers Employee Assistance Program and they had a financial councilor. We set up a plan so I can put myself in better financial shape in the next few years. Hopefully soon I won’t have to work two jobs anymore. Maybe your employer offers something similar?

    Good luck.

  10. Gareth, that’s so amazing! Thank you for telling me that! (Although giving credit where credit is due, there are a number of people who’ve done at least as much work on the website as I have, probably more. But still, I did have a hand in it and I’m proud of the work we’ve done.)

    A, as stressed out as I’ve gotten working one full-time job, I think taking a second job would break me, even if it did bring more money in. Plus, as it is right now, Berkie and I only have one day off in common. I couldn’t possibly see her less than I already do. But talking to a financial counselor is not a bad idea at all. I’ll look into that. Thanks!

  11. Pingback: goblin cartoons » Blog Archive » Crisis Averted, Opportunity Taken

  12. My contribution is making your conscience-fueled child support optional instead of mandatory until you get back on your feet. Which hopefully will be soon. Fuck this economy for putting highly educated people into the bind of debt.

  13. I appreciate that, Julie, but if there’s one thing I’ll always make sure gets paid, it’s child support. And it’s not even about education but about people who do their work and do everything they’re supposed to in terms of bills and responsibilities, but still get screwed. The amount you and I work and get paid, we should be doing pretty well. But as you know, the gap between the haves and have-nots has gotten massive. All of us in the bottom 99% of the US economy have to look out for each other and protect each other from the top 1%.

  14. I know. I’ve altered my priorities since I was much younger to be experience based rather than materially based, which has made me happier than all those fools with all their mcmansions and multiple high end vehicles, etc. But I’m still pragmatic enough to realize I’m just about a month away from insolvency and THAT is my only motivation to work. Fuck Alan Greenspan especially. This was his idea.

  15. WHO WANTS TO BREAK CAPITALISM? Who wants a co-op based economy? WE DO! When do we want it? When it’s feasible!

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