Okay, let’s talk about MONEY! It’s awkward, I know. But I’ve got a lot of feelings about art, work, and money, so here we go…
I need support to keep on writing: Many different kinds of support, and that does indeed include the financial kind. I recently added a donation button to the right sidebar of my blog, with a note:
♥ WRITING = WORKING ♥
WRITING is ART & ART is WORK. I spend all day every day writing, and it keeps me alive but it doesn’t pay the bills. Please consider supporting my work not only by reading, commenting, & sharing, but by contributing a little bit of money as well. As always, I am immensely grateful & appreciative of your support!
$upport by Brianna Dearest
I believe artists should be paid for their work, and that we’d be capable of making MORE and BETTER art if we were reasonably financially compensated. I don’t like feeling obligated to give away my words & energy & time for free, and I don’t like being expected to do so when I’m just barely scraping by on my disability cheques. I think it’s okay to want things – coffee, books, trinkets, art, yummy food, etc. – and that we shouldn’t be shamed for wanting/needing things, or for wanting/needing the money to acquire these things. My writing doesn’t provide a predictable, steady income, but it does indeed give me just a little bit to keep on going.
Life as a disabled writer without a formal education can be really difficult, pals! I’ve had a lot of bad luck this year, which has gotten me much deeper in debt than I could’ve predicted – but I’ve also had a lot of truly amazing experiences, and begun new creative projects, new chapters of my life, if I may use that terrible cliché. Chronic pain and major depression have been getting me down, but I’ve been continuing to write anyway because there’s absolutely nothing else that I want to do. I’m feeling ridiculously inspired, and hardly have the time to work on all my ideas, but I’m figuring it out. Unfortunately, it’s often a lack of money holding me back. Monthly disability cheques keep me way the fuck below the poverty line, and I can’t dig myself out.
I spend my money with intention. I buy food that makes me feel good, and books that inspire and encourage me by folks who I believe deserve my money; I buy art directly from artists when I can, to make sure they make as much as they can. I contribute money, even in the tiniest amounts (I recently gave $3 to a fundraising campaign for a book because I really wanted to donate but that was all I had) to crowdfunding campaigns, I buy lotsa zines at zinefests and through Etsy and snail mail, I write a lot of letters, and I try to share my visibility with other writers & artists who need it.
Friends and strangers have been so generous! I’ve spent much of my life, more than a decade, involved in various zine communities. It’s kept me alive, for real, but it’s also filled me with guilt about my need for cash – I’ve been surrounded by a lot of zinesters who tell me the ‘Art Should Be Free’ speech (as I’ve written about in previous blog entries). Cool story, yeah, but lots of us cannot afford to give our art away for free. I can’t! Not often, anyway. And now that I find myself involved in other literary & artistic communities, I find it more and more problematic to expect things for free. I think it’s way better to offer support in the form of cash whenever possible. I don’t think you owe me anything, no, not at all, but here we are stuck in a capitalist society where, despite the value of our art and our politics, despite the ways we are indeed working hard to change the world, we need to eat, pay bills, send mail, and take care of ourselves.
Money is not inherently bad! We can spend it with intention, and save it with intention. We can support one another with cash when hugs and letters and kind thoughts aren’t enough.