So I’ve somehow acquired a much larger post reach and a huge number of new followers in the first week of October. Makes me feel like I’m being watched.
It must have been something I said.
Nice to meet you.
While everyone is staring at me, I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and to draw your attention to the tip jar, and then I’ll go back to making art later today.
My name is Mary. I live in Steubenville, Ohio, at the junction of the Rust Belt and the Appalachian mountains, just spitting distance from West Virginia. I have a nasty temper and a bad habit of saying exactly what I think. I am a Catholic, canonically Latin, who feels far more at home in the Eastern Catholic churches but I’m currently stuck going to Latin churches at the moment due to not having transportation. I am a failed graduate student with an annoying case of fibromyalgia that causes bad fatigue and makes it hard to leave the house some days. My husband is my homemaker and provides most of the childcare because I’m often laid up and because I work here full time at Patheos as a writer. He also copyedits for me and sometimes writes for us. Our daughter, Rosie, is homeschooled because the schools around here are terrifying. I have been called a liberal and even a socialist.
I don’t always write about scandal in the pro-life movement, although it’s definitely become a theme with me. I like to write meditations on the Gospels and on beloved Catholic prayers. I also tend to find myself opining badly on politics, speaking against racism, and mentioning things you might not know about poverty. I write far more than I’d like to about spiritual abuse, of which I’ve been a victim, and about clerical sexual abuse, because these are things we can’t look away from as a Church anymore. I like animals. Sometimes I write fiction. I do not believe in worshiping Household gods but only Christ, so your favorite Catholic celebrities are likely to get ribbed or even full-blown lampooned here on a regular basis.
For all of this, Patheos pays me three dollars per thousand clicks in the United States and nothing for clicks in most other countries. I’m still very grateful and flattered when people in other countries read my posts, of course, because post volume snowballing all over the world does ultimately lead to a bigger paycheck. But at least 80% of my living comes from tips, and this is the part where I’ll pass the hat and give you a pointed look.
We get by on a wing and a prayer most months. Michael mentioned to me that I usually just say “we’re getting by” and maybe that’s not perfectly honest about how lean our operation is around here. We don’t even have a working washer and dryer at the moment, and we’ve been putting off repairing the “school laptop” for Rosie’s homeschooling for months. Thanks to the outstanding generosity of a few friends I’m going to be a licensed driver this year, but on our current income I can’t hope to have a car or even pay for gas and insurance for a car somebody gives me. I also have a stash of approved-by-my-internist-but-not-prescription vitamins and medicines that I take to keep the fibromyalgia at bay in addition to more conventional things that Medicaid will pay for, but they’re very pricey and lately I can only take the full suite of them about two weeks out of the month. And this month we’re still trying to pay off the massive summer utility bills, so I may not be buying vitamins at all.
People act like admitting I accept remuneration for my writing makes me sinister and self-serving, and maybe that’s true. But I’m not one of those Catholic bloggers who claims to be something I’m not– I’m not running a phony charity or an “institute” and I don’t call my work an “apostolate” run by charitable donations. The button on my online tip jar says “donate,” but I didn’t design that button; it’s actually just giving me tips if you like my work. I pay taxes on them, or would if I got enough to owe tax. That’s all I am, a busker writing literary art projects for tips. Think of it as a magazine subscription where you pay what you think I’m worth and get to keep reading even if you can’t.
So, if you like what you’ve read, give me a tip when you can. Just click on the “donate” tab which you can find right here, click on that yellow button and Paypal will walk you through the rest. There’s also an option somewhere in there to schedule the same tip every single month kind of like a Patreon, and those who can do that are especially helpful to Michael who does the budgeting because he can actually plan ahead when he knows a tip is coming at a certain time monthly.
Now that I’ve introduced myself and shamelessly rattled the tin cup, I’ll go back to writing blog posts worth reading!
(image via Pixabay)