Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pris at an Impasse

As regular readers remember...for more than two years I slogged out to one computer center or another, every day or two, often spending more time walking to and from the computer than actually using it, to build up a web site.

I wanted this web site to do several things:

(1) Display my writing to other paying publishers besides the one I'd just lost

(2) Advertise local businesses and attractions

(3) Market the books I've been trying to sell, secondhand, in real life, and as many new books by e-friends and deserving writers as possible

(4) Bring in enough money that I could afford to pay other writers who'd been shortchanged by our former publisher

(5) Be a forum where, since I had to be my own primary editor, readers could tell me what they did and didn't like, what I hadn't bothered to look up and should have, what was and wasn't clear, and so on

(6) Give me some reason to get up, get dressed, and go to work in the morning.

Well, it did #6 all right, but it didn't do the other things very well. I was noticing more hate (from people who wouldn't have read my web site even if they knew how to read, which in some cases was doubtful) than appreciation for any benefit I was providing anyone else. I *was* getting masses of free stuff to post, but nearly all of it was the kind of partisan political stuff commercial sponsors hate. I got some sponsorship, but not enough to allow the web site to do what I meant it to do, and some readership, but not enough to convince me that the sponsors were getting fair returns on their investment. Part of the problem was that Blogspot was set up to *prevent* readers from communicating with writers, and part was that public-access computers are set up to prevent Paypal buttons from working--and, if the Gates Foundation is involved, to prevent anyone from having time to do more than read the headlines on their e-mail.

By the time I heard about BubbleWS, I was close to the point of abandoning the Blogspot as a lost cause. There are things I like about the way the site's set up, but there seemed to be no way of making it bring outside money into our community, which is the whole point of our *having* Internet access.

In order to get the online time I need, I'm now commuting thirty miles each way. I don't drive, and there's no bus, and even faithful sponsors are starting to say "Couldn't you do something else, closer to home?"

I could do what I'm doing today, closer to home, if I had a couple of thousand dollars I don't have. I have several relatives who are rich even by U.S. standards, although they think they could and should be much richer; they'd hardly miss the amount of money it would cost to set up the store I've been trying to set up for two or three years, but they would want it to bring in some profit and don't trust sites like Chataway and BubbleWS to accomplish that...after all, if Amazon and Google Ad Sense didn't do that in all this time... I have several faithful sponsors, but they're not rich and some of them are in financial straits right now.

Recently I even heard the words that are guaranteed to raise any writer's blood pressure..."get a job." Writers *have* a job. Writers were *born* with a job. Collecting payment may at times present a problem, but writers are *always* productively employed, unless we have high fevers, or get drunk. And it's a good thing that writing *is* my job, because at this point in my life the chances of my being offered a full-time job by a corporation are approximately equal to the chances of my being taken hostage. In Iran. By supporters of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Who have not heard that he's dead.

I really do understand why, in some countries, widows are still encouraged to climb onto their husbands' funeral pyres.

There's still a public service that our community needs--a computer center where other people can actually *work*--and I still happen to be *the* person in our community who is best qualified to provide that service. A long-retired former teacher said, when we talked about it a few years ago, that my whole career of odd jobs could have been deliberately arranged to make me an ideal bookstore-and-computer-center manager. But the years keep passing by, and there's no connection between point A (recognizing the need) and point B (meeting it in practice).

Most people who don't avoid talking about this subject altogether, by now, like to blame the current presidential administration...as if they thought the next one was likely to improve things. Myself, I tend to blame God: if what I've believed all my life were true, then God, Who has given me this vocation, would have allowed it to become real by now. (And I don't want to hear any of what Rabbi Kushner called "defending God's honor" about this. It does not help anything in any way. I have prayed about this, and I have received a very clear impression, a visual image rather than words, which is unusual for me, of Jesus as a sick patient in a hospital bed, trying without success to press the buzzer for the nurse. Living Christians are the living Body of Christ; the message was that Christ is no longer able to move His Body.)

So that's the state of things as they are. This Bubble was not intended to goad, or taunt, or shame, any other Bubblers who are feeding nine children or living with painful disabilities or whatever. It was intended to goad, taunt, and shame some people in the real world who know very well who they are.