About twenty-four hours ago, I didn’t know where I was going to be living at the end of this month. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to live, on my own power, by the end of this month. The company I worked for, for about three years, was hit hard by the recession; it started to respond, to lay people off and to cut their hours, last summer. After I had my hours cut a few times, my boyfriend, with whom I was living, made me a proposition: my blog was taking off, I had readers, why didn’t I start trying to sell the writing a little harder? He would support me, for the year it took to make that happen, so that I could launch some manner of media career.
We made it for about six months. I was working part-time (very, VERY part-time) for my company for a while, and then I was working on writing for other people seven days a week, so it didn’t even make sense for me to do that any more. And then the work started to dry up, and we learned that this whole Death of Paying Media thing was, for real, no joke. (Oh, how I wish I had not been a dick about the importance of local papers! AH, WELL.) So, here I was: on my own, scraping together enough money to live a few hundred dollars at a time, in some senses more successful than I had ever been in my life, and in some senses just flat-out fucked and unable to support myself in any way whatsoever. So, I swallowed my pride, and I did something that was very hard for me: I asked people to support Tiger Beatdown financially, with donations, so that it and I could go on. And then the impossible happened.
You made it possible for me, for at least one more month, to keep my apartment. And my Internet connection. And food. And, most importantly, you made it possible for me to keep working on Tiger Beatdown.
The thing is, a Big Fancy Media Career is exciting; it’s nice to be able to call yourself a “writer,” and all that. But it’s not necessarily what matters to me. In my last post, I said that people who worked in feminist media did so because they cared, because even if they could be making more money somewhere else, this was the work that mattered to them. And it’s true: working in this very, very, very financially challenging sector of the media (and, yes, pretty much all sectors of the media are very, very, very financially challenged right now – but this one? It’s been suffering pretty hard for a pretty long time, as far as I can gauge) demands a commitment to rewards that are not in any way financial. So it’s nice, really nice, to be linked to by people I respect, to have my writing solicited, to be taken semi-seriously by the professionals whose work I love. It’s nice, but it’s not what matters most. What matters most to me is the girl who e-mailed me to say that reading Tiger Beatdown gave her the strength to file a sexual harassment complaint at work. Or the girl who e-mailed to say that me taking a chance and writing about my break-up made her feel like she could break down the barriers of shame and denial, the obligation to be tough, the fears of her emotions being “dangerous, or burdensome” to others, in her words, enough to write about being a rape survivor. Or the girl who e-mailed me to say that my blog had made her want to start her own blog, and that girl turning out to be C.L. Fucking Minou, if you can believe that. That is what matters.
But I reached a point at which running Tiger Beatdown became financially unviable; at which, in order to keep performing this service (and I do conceive of it as a service) I needed to be compensated. And I asked you, if the blog mattered to you, to make it possible for at least one more month.
You did. I still can’t believe it. But you fucking did it.
Maggie; Clara; Lindsay; Samantha; Mekhala; Kate; Jennifer; Adrianna; Scott; A’Llyn; Courtney; Alexandra; Lauren; Katherine; Casey; Kristin; Paul; Arwen; Katherine also; Donna; Hannah; Arin; David; Hayley; Juliet; Julia; KrisAnne; Zoe; Michael; Simon; Sophie; C.L. (C.L.!); Lee; Maura; Rachel; Rachel also; Samantha; Olivia; Joshua; Erin; Shannon; David; Rebecca; Amanda (Amanda!); Rebecca also; Liz; Laura; Katherine also, again; Tessa; Kira, who somehow managed to send me a donation without me asking for it at the very moment I was breaking up with my boyfriend, and William, who did this twice in the past month but kicked it off in the first place and whose e-mails are always kinder than I have any reason to expect or deserve: thank you. You, all of you, are directly responsible for the continued existence of Tiger Beatdown. And, you know, me.
And there are others I have to thank, too: thanks to Melissa McEwan, for talking me through the business end of running a blog multiple times, and each time stressing the importance of donations, and for being one of the very first strangers to have faith in this blog. Thanks to Clay Shirky, for doing the same, and for helping me to learn how to get published elsewhere. Thanks to Cara Kulwicki, for her tireless support, veteran perspective, and practical advice. Thanks to Jill Filipovic, Lauren Bruce, Chally, Sally, and all at Feministe, even the ones I haven’t gotten the chance to e-mail or chat with yet: I am honored to work with you. Thanks to Jessica Valenti. Thanks to Amanda Marcotte. Thanks to Kate Harding. Thanks to Sarah Hepola, Kelsey Wallace, Kjerstin Johnson, Richard Adams, Theresa Malone, Sasha Belenky, Ann Friedman, and anyone anywhere who has had the patience to edit me or solicit my writing. Thanks to Joanne, who is still waiting for me to do my best. Thanks to Chelsea, B. Michael, Amanda Hess, and C.L. Minou, for being a part of this enterprise and making me less overworked and less alone. Thanks to Kelly Noonan and Elizabeth Seward, for telling me to write and to put what I wrote on the Internet – to Kelly, for sitting me down a thousand times and telling me that I was beautiful and brilliant and successful and I was born to do this particular kind of writing, and for making me believe it; to Elizabeth, for telling me to heed that voice, the one you hear when you are down and out and broken and it seems like nothing and no-one can save you, the voice that says “write this.” Thanks to the others, who e-mailed me or had lunch with me or recommended me elsewhere, whose names I won’t drop here because I don’t know if they want to be associated with me in the public square, but: oh, my God, what an honor. Thanks to anyone, anywhere, who ever linked to this blog, or mentioned this blog, or recommended this blog: it’s just me alone in a room, don’t you realize that? But you treat it like it matters, and that makes me able to believe that it does. And thanks to my boyfriend, the very first person to ever read a post on Tiger Beatdown, for calling me a “writer,” for your belief in me, and for the six months. I won’t forget that. I will never forget that. And I will always owe you more than I can say.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Red_Riding_Hood
They call writing a “solitary” profession. It’s a lie. You might be sitting by yourself when you do it, but it can’t happen without the support and help of countless other people. Right now, right here, sitting in my parents’ study and looking out at the snowdrifts, I am less alone than I have ever been in my life. I might be crying, but it’s the good sort of crying. The kind they do at the Oscars, I guess. I feel very Gwyneth Paltrow about it all. Thanks to my publicist! Thanks to Al Gore, for inventing the Internet! You see, if I go on, I will get carried away. So, before the power of my sentimentality calls Dido down from the heavens to serenade you all: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank all of you, for making me a writer, for making me believe I can do some good in this world, and for making it possible for me to survive doing what I love. Thank you for Tiger Beatdown. It’s not mine, it never was: it’s yours. You gave it to me. It’s the most precious gift I’ve ever received in my life.
Now. Let us get down to ladybusiness, shall we?