One Month Later: food, books, gifts, & gratitude

For the most part, I won’t be cross-posting entries between Patreon and my blog, but I’m making an exception tonight, to be transparent about the money I’m earning and where I’m choosing to spend it, as well as sending a last-minute reminder to my readers that if you’d like to support me through the month of March, you’ve got a little bit of time to sign up.

{image description: A blue payphone booth, photo taken in the night. Traffic lights glow in the background. The blue phonebooth is covered in stickers and graffiti. In black Sharpie ALLCAPS, someone’s written: THIS PHONE DOESN’T COLLECT DATA.}

On the first day of February, my first Patreon payment was deposited into my account. I earned $89 for my first month on Patreon – $10 went toward fees, which meant $79 was mine. Until I looked at my Paypal, I hadn’t realized this was U.S. dollars, which then amounted to $102.52. What a surprise!

As for other numbers: I earned $6.68 on Amazon at the end of January, $9.93 the previous month, $33 in November, and just 0.21¢ in October. Amazon makes it difficult to see exactly how many copies have sold, and which titles – it wasn’t until two years had passed after self-publishing We Are the Weirdos that I was even able to figure out how to have my earnings deposited into my bank account. In those two years, it added up to all of $200.

I plan to be as transparent as possible about where the money I earn through Patreon goes, while maintaining some form of privacy & boundaries, too.

So, here’s where the money went!

Early in the month, I spent $23 on a meal and coffee after a health care appointment. Frequently, after appointments, I need to sit down, process, write, and I’m not ready to go home, especially to the distractions of home, all the tasks calling out to be done. Also, I need to avoid public transit on certain lines and at busier times (rush hour, etc), which means a) needing somewhere to be, and b) aside from libraries, being required to spend money to be somewhere. Usually I’ll buy a coffee – rarely food. This time, I was very hungry, and I knew I’d be sitting for a long time, so I treated myself to a (vegan, gluten-free) meal with my black coffee. It’s not something I’ll do often, but it certainly felt both needed and luxurious at once. I sat alone in a comfortable booth, and I nourished myself before writing. (I’m not vegan, but I’m lactose-intolerant, and each time I test myself to see if I can eat or drink dairy, there are painful consequences over the course of several days.)

Later, I spent $8 on a used book. A paperback copy of Pussy, King of the Pirates by Kathy Acker. I’d been reading O Fallen Angel by Kate Zambreno, another paperback work of fiction, and when I opened it on the streetcar, I was much closer to the end than I realized, and there’d be nothing left to read on the way home. I allowed myself to buy one used book, with a promise to myself that I’d begin reading that day, reading on the streetcar ride home. So that’s what I did – I finished the novel a week or so later, after having attempted to read it a decade ago, back when I was volunteering at the queer library in Guelph, but feeling too lost to understand Kathy Acker’s work back then. This time, it meant much more to me, and became motivation and inspiration for one of the projects I’ve been working on, the novella about the sex club. I have a copy of After Kathy Acker by Chris Kraus, and I’d like to begin soon – but that’s how I feel about so many books. It’s hard to know which ones to prioritize.

And then I spent $42 on groceries. Nothing interesting, but certainly unavoidable. I bought a bunch of frozen fruits and vegetables (I still often eat pre-chopped produce since the labour of doing it myself isn’t doable for me with chronic pain), tofu, peanut butter, bananas, and avocados. I can’t dumpster like I had been for a number of years – again, the time, the labour, the pain, the allergies, the risk – and I’m still trying to figure out how much I need to / can budget for food. Ordinary food.

{image description: A bunch of papers and things scattered on my purple writing desk. In the centre, a small spiralbound sketchpad where I tracked my sending in fuchsia ink. To the left, a mug of coffee on a ceramic coaster with an image of lilacs. A floral envelope, a piece of the wrapping paper described in this entry, two pens, and to the right, a five dollar bill with a toonie and two loonies, and a long string of twice with wooden valentine hearts attached – to be hung in my apartment with photos clipped to the clothespins hidden on the back of each heart.}

My partner’s son turned seven this month! Aquarius! Until this Winter, I hadn’t known the joy of finding gifts for small children. I didn’t know I’d like the children’s section of the indie bookstore so much. I’d bought a few gifts for him for Christmas, and had such fun choosing them, finding wrapping paper, and then watching him open them. This time, again, I went to the children’s section with nothing specific in mind, just wandering, knowing I’d know what I want when I saw it. His son loves building Lego, and loves H*rry P*tter and St*r W*rs. I found a new-to-me book, hardcover and illustrated, about a child who’s distracted from school work because he’d rather be designing and building and creating. Iggy Peck, Architect, written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts. $21. Perfect. In a nearby bin of stuffed animals, I dug through all the characters to see what my options were, and found the sole remaining Chewbacca soft toy. $14. Done. Next door, I looked for wrapping paper. His favourite colour is red. And his dad had mentioned to me they’d been discussing the history of the ampersand – what does it mean, why and when was it created? Around all the cutesie doodles of the red paper-pattern, black ampersands were scribbled. The sheet was $4.

Writing-wise, I’ve posted two patron-only updates this month. On February 4th, I shared “Do nothing.”, where I wrote about attending an Imbolc ceremony, an example of navigating the complicated social assistance system on a stressful afternoon, friendship, and how my childhood – and adulthood – spirituality have been influenced by Anne of Green Gables. On February 11th, I shared “Why are you here?”, where I wrote about the Full Moon in Leo, access intimacy and goth friendship, Sharpie graffiti in gentrifying neighbourhoods, pain, wordlessness, and going home.

On my blog, I shared Toronto Forget-Me-Not (Part Two), in which I discuss the Nine of Cups with Cristy Road’s Next World Tarot, anti-capitalist self-care, and a CJ Sleez lyric I’ve cherished since my teen years: “You’ll never take away my luxury in poverty.” Toronto Forget-Me-Not is a series I’ve been writing about visiting the Toronto addresses on the love letters exchanged between my nana and poppa in 1950, when they were newly courting one another. Content note for Part Two, as I write about grief – my poppa, who I loved very much, died this Winter at the age of 90.

{image description: The top half of my old, grimy cane leaning against a bathroom stall door that had recently been painted hot pink, the familiar graffiti now hidden, but slowly gathering more. My cane is lavender with a small Hello Kitty plush toy hanging from the handle. The lock is slid shut. Brown brick wall visible to the right.}

And that’s it! I spent bit more than $102.50 but I made it work. Just as we turned from Aquarius to Pisces Season, the money was gone. These things: a good and nourishing meal, groceries to last a couple weeks, and birthday presents for my partner’s kiddo, wouldn’t have been possible without the first deposit earned through Patreon, through you. So, thanks so much for being a patron! In the future, I’d like to be able to put more of this money toward regular health care sessions and food, as well as savings for for future expenses or potential emergencies. But this has been a promising start. On the last day of each month, I’ll share a similar update. It really is an adventure and an experiment. I’m glad each of you are here with me. Gratitude!

Fundingly Yours,

P.S.: If you’ve benefited from my writing in any way – if my words have inspired you, helped you feel less alone, or sparked some weird feeling within you; if you’ve felt encouraged, or curious, or comforted – please consider compensating me by offering a donation of any amount. Whether you’ve been reading my writing for years, or just stumbled into me this afternoon, I invite you to help me sustain the process!

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