I tried something new with the last digest. Instead of including the entire essay, I put in a teaser and a link to the article on Medium. The response was a resounding… meh.
My thought was to divert traffic to a platform that has paid me for my work. I was part of the first wave of writers invited to the revenue sharing program at Medium, and am appreciative of the ad-free experience that has compensating writers as a founding principle.
Well, it didn’t work.
I get it, nobody likes a switcheroo. I handled it with all the finesse of a bull in a China shop.
One reader responded, “It always ends up being about money.”
Well, it doesn’t, but I think it ought to.
We’ve become a culture accustomed to paying for items and expecting creative work to be free. The result is homes filled to the brim with things, and empty spaces inside of us.
The sense of ennui in modern life is palpable. We consume listicles about life-hacks, but very little writing that illuminates the human condition, crosses the divide, and invites understanding. The sort of thing that connects us to our deeper selves and one another. That has to be worth more than the latest gadget one is inclined to lust after. The result on our psyches more lasting.
I’ve always enjoyed your style and wit. Your writing pulls people toward empathy and understanding - a TTSF reader
The process of writing these essays is much more than sitting down in front of the computer and allowing the words to flow out. I spend hours reading, taking notes, thinking, walking to give myself space to think, and doing the hard work of aligning my thoughts in a coherent, and hopefully helpful way.
If I can throw in a bit of humor, bonus! I once exited mid-shower to go write down a line I thought was funny. It still cracks me up.
Creative work should be valued as highly or more than consumer goods. A low carbon footprint, and high return. Since money is how we account for value in our culture, creative work needs to be paid. It’s that simple.
I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment.
This is my aim exactly. I’ve made my own work all of my adult life. Not always to spectacular success, but so what? All of the setbacks have been bracing, but transformative.
Cancer, divorce, losing a parent, heartbreak, all cracked me wide open. They pushed me to try every new thing I can find, figure out who I am, and communicate that to the world while I am able. Time is running out for all of us, I’m just inordinately aware of it.
I’m living bravely, and writing honestly about it. There is something in there for you, too.
I value my readers and appreciate your taking time out of your busy lives to let me in. Really, truly. This digest has been a source of joy and a needed outlet. I get a thrill when one of you writes back to me to say a piece particularly moved you.
Seriously, I’m high for days.
To that end I will continue to put the full essay in each digest, and am setting up a Patreon page I hope you will help fund.
If my work has delighted you, opened you up, illuminated a subject, or given you pleasure then it’s worth compensating.
You know, with money 😏