“I’ve never thought of you as being “too much” or “there she goes again”. I just always thought your dreams are so much bigger than everyone else’s… of course you have to try so much harder.”
How is it that she always knows what to say to get me to crawl out from under the bed? One of my oldest and dearest listened to me strain and struggle with the crowdfunding pitch again. Whatever would I say to people? How could I admit I tried to raise a kickstarter and we didn’t reach our goal so I’m trying something else? How could I tell them all that I spent the summer talking to various venture capitalists, and failed at that also? How would I tell everyone that I was trying a different crowdfunding platform – and still, it might not work? How could I possibly bear letting people down if this one doesn’t work?
Asking for support and money is hard. Especially when it seems like it never ends. I feel like I’ve been asking for money, help, and support for years. It seems like most or all of my life, I’ve never quite had my finger on the button of monetary stability or abundance. In people and tribe – I’m rich beyond any kind of measure. In experiences, I’m burdened with an excess of wonderful stories. In blissful contentment for the pleasures of good company, beautiful views, satisfying meals, and shelter… I am one of the wealthiest people I know. Not to brag, too late, but I’ve got fabulous tribe, and I’m lucky enough to know it. Knowing it is a treasure in and of itself.
In worldly needs, I lack for nothing. My mind is challenged and full of creative fertile ground, my heart has many someones to adore. I have health, happiness, and freedom.
When the kickstarter failed to raise the funds for the publishing launch, I started the rounds with venture capitalists in hopes of seed funds that would prevent me from having to lean on my people.
In a silly, selfish way, I finally wanted to be in a position to just GIVE to my people, the fruits of production and share my gratitude for their continued patience and encouragement through years of near-miss, almost, so-close… not quite success. “Thanks for sticking with me all these years, here’s this Book/Concept/Movie/Sculpture – for you! Enjoy!”
Venture capital failed. Crowd sourcing failed. Loans failed.
Most people, most smart, satisfied people would quit right there. Pour a drink and move onto something else. I meet those people all the time, actually. I’ve met them on the bus, airplane, sitting at the train station, once on a bridge overlooking a dark road in the middle of the night.
Those people, when they hear what I do, what I build or write or strive toward, even in the continued failure of it – they open and spill out, blurting frustrated heartbreak to a total stranger.
“I wanted to be a writer/actor/musician/painter… once. A long time ago.” They pause, stare back thirty years and finish with, “But then…. Life.”
It’s such a common story that I often fear telling strangers on the airplane what I do, else I’ll be stuck in their reminiscing ache of giving up thirty years too soon for an uncomfortable six hour red-eye.
Thwarted dreamers, frustrated creators, failed superstars and unfulfilled artists surround us. Because it’s not just the specter of the lost artist that resonates, it’s lost dream. I also often find myself in conversation with strangers at a bar, or café, or standing in the bookstore. A promising minor league career ended too soon by a sports injury, stopped playing all forms of sports. A promising law student returns home to take care of her dying father and misses final exams, dropped out of school. Guy designs an amazing new innovation in biomedical field, doesn’t get credited in the professor’s paper, stopped innovating.
It creeps in on all of us, justly or unjustly, with blessings and limitations – sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish the two. It simply cannot be avoided, because life is also what creates our story.
The point of all this is not to lament their losses, or life diversions, it’s to reflect on the truth that unlike many of these folk’s challenges that stopped them in their tracks, I have no such excuses.
I am wealthy in love and support, bejeweled in tribe, granted all the encouragement I ever need to pull up my big girl panties and get back out there. By all accounts and laws of the universe, the only thing preventing me from being that forlorn heartbroken artist weeping my heart out to a stranger in the middle of a red-eye, is the will to keep trying.
The only thing between their story and my story is that I’m not ready to stop. I’m not ready to tell my people, who’ve come with me this far that I can’t do it anymore. I can’t do that to myself, and I can’t do that to you.
Instead, I’m going to ask you to come with me a little farther. Try with me a little longer. There will be stories, misadventures, I promise. Have I ever let you down in that department?
With no promise of success, again. No promise of riches, or vast landscapes or unseen vistas – I ask you to hang in with me a little longer. Just over the next knoll. Just until the next fork. At least until the newest hook, left spin, unforeseen dramatic curveball. Stay with me and the story until something resonates, until it gives you closure, or inspiration, or at the very least, a good chuckle at some schadenfreude, because have I ever let you down in the schadenfreude department? My regular public embarrassment is worthy of bronzing, seriously.
Asking for financial support is still hard, and more importantly, I know it’s hard for people to provide, even when they want to in difficult times. There is never any obligation, only gratitude. Sincerest gratitude.
For monthly Patreon (patronage) donations and rewards:
Here are some ways to support the adventure in lieu of financial donations or patronage.
- Support artists and fair trade practices
- Plug the patreon or my website
- Plug my books www.theblissquest.com
- Follow this blog and make lots of comments!
- Poke at the entertainment system (this is my personal favorite… rock the boat!)
- Shop local bookstores
- Tell people, not just artists, their dreams are valid (you know, just because)
I never promise this round will be successful, but I can guarantee it will be interesting. Have my schemes ever disappointed in level of melodrama or grandiosity? It’s certainly cheaper than cable, and a hella validating watching me bumble through the development, right?
Bring your own popcorn and booze.
I’ll supply the entertainment.
See you there!
Once again, with deep sincerity, thank you for being on this mad, wild journey with me. I couldn’t do it without you. (and let’s be honest, it just wouldn’t be as fun if you weren’t here.)
Viva la Story!