Today I turn 55! These round-numbered birthdays don’t come around very often, and I’m never sure whether I’m going to get another one. A has changed since my last one five years ago, when some dear friends used the occasion to organize a roast that raised a bunch of money for Eat the State!. A good time was had by all. But a lot has happened since then.
Five years later, ETS! has gone on, beloved, to the good and crowded graveyard of alternative print media projects. My paying day job in 2009, Peace Action of Washington, no longer exists. Nor does any other day job for me; I’ve stayed active with various labors of love (like the KEXP show Saturday mornings). The upshot is that since directing fundraising and communications for Kshama Sawant’s election to Seattle City Council one year ago, I’ve been unemployed. In part, that’s been because of the first significant decline in my health in several years.
Fortunately, my health has since gotten better, but it’s required some big lifestyle changes – including downsizing, the breakup of my longtime relationship, and multiple moves in Seattle’s seriously insane rental housing market. The combination – jobless, ill, and scrambling – has left me pretty well cashless.
The good news is that after several months of chaos, I’m coming out on the other side of this – my health is stabilized and improved, I have a new apartment I think is going to work and an amazingly supportive new relationship with Revel Smith, I’m back to writing regularly again, and I have some employment prospects. The bad news is that after all of this, I am utterly, completely broke – to the point where I have no idea how I’m going to pay rent next month, let alone pay the substantial 2015 health insurance premium that will be due. I think financial relief is coming, but it won’t be soon enough for the next month’s bills and living expenses. As many of you know, I live pretty simply, focusing most of my time and energy on my writing and political work – but there’s not much more I can do right now to sell stuff or cut expenses further. And, alas, the oddity of how Medicare handles end stage renal disease means that the Affordable Care Act, for all the good it does, has no impact on my looming (and utterly essential) insurance bill.
And, so, much as I hate to do this, rather than raising money for ETS! or some other favored political project or candidate, this year I need first of all to raise money for myself. If you value the media, activism, and political work I do in the community, and would like to help me do more of it without the emotional and health stress of being unable to pay my bills, I’d really appreciate your help. Given that today is my 55th birthday, if 55 of you can each donate $55 (see the PayPal button at lower right), that would raise about $3,000, which would help hugely in getting me over the immediate hump.
Of course, every bit helps – and if you can donate more, spread the word, and/or float me a loan, that works, too. The point is to try to crowdsource the appreciation so many of you have expressed for my work – to enable more of it by creating some cash flow and getting some stress relief for my birthday.
As always, many, many thanks for all your best wishes and kind words – and thanks for all you do to make our community and world a better place.