A Good Day on the Internet
As I have perhaps over-emphasized here at The Big Whoop, the life of a writer, at least as experienced by me, is full of uncertainty and doubt, tough breaks and painful endings. It’s a paycheck to paycheck existence where rejection is a constant and you’re perpetually reminded of all the things you haven’t achieved, the gigs you didn’t get, the books you didn’t write, the people who were once central to your life but for a variety of painful reasons you don’t know anymore.
You tell your wife that there are days that you feel like Willy Loman and she says, “I can see that” instead of insisting that you’re a virile achiever.
The life of a pop culture freelancer in 2019 is full of hard fucking days, is what I’m saying. Obstacles. Tough breaks. Long spells of feeling defeated and overwhelmed, exhausted yet unable to stop, or even slow down, really, out of fear that the fragile alchemy that holds my life and career together will fall apart unless I am perpetually on my grind, if I’m not working every possible free moment.
The tough times make you appreciate the good days. On Tuesday I had a very good day on the internet. After a week of hiccups and a change of hosts (out with GoFundMe, in with Kickstarter) I was finally able to launch the crowd-funding campaign for the Weird Accordion to Al book and holy shit, it was a big, near instant success. I set a very low goal to ensure that I ended up receiving the funds, as Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition, and I soared over my 2000 dollar goal in a matter of hours. Kind posts and shares and retweets from colleagues and favorite podcasters and supporters and friends from throughout my decades in the media generated a big influx of cash. I was worried that pledges would stop coming after I hit my goal.
I was concerned that after rapidly beating my Kickstarter goal people would think that I need less money than I do, which is a First World Problem it is good to have. I needn’t have worried, as a day in I’d made nearly 300 percent of that modest two grand initial target.
On a practical level that’s great because it means I can do things like publish the book the right way but emotionally it’s fucking huge as well. It makes me feel like the hard, stupid work I do joyfully here every day is valued and appreciated, that I’m seen, that I’m known, that I’m felt. Because I have been doing this a long fucking time and it’s goddamn emotional. I put my soul in my work man, and these other people, I’m not saying that they’re Satanic illuminati in league with Crooked Hillary, but I’m not not saying that, either
I feel like Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life and despite still wanting to punch Uncle Billy right in his stupid fucking face despite the heavenly intervention, last minute reversal of fortune and one-time Christmas spirit-fueled cash injection, feeling obscenely blessed and grateful that a cyber-village has rallied around me and my little passion project in my hour of need. I feel like Sally Field at the Academy Awards accepting her statue for Places in the Heart in 1985–still very grateful, but not to that blubbery, “You like me, you really, really like me!” degree.
The success of the Weird Accordion to Al Kickstarter is even more remarkable considering the exceedingly modest popularity of the column that spawned it, which began as a modestly read cult column read by about five hundred people, continued as a modestly read cult column read by about five hundred people, had a brief bump in popularity when it was mentioned in a Rolling Stone article on Al and will likely end its online life here at the Happy Place as a modestly read cult column about five hundred people follow.
You really have to be committed to something to do it one hundred and sixty-five times without it ever receiving anything other than an exceedingly modest readership. Given the niche nature of the project, that’s not terribly surprising. I am not foolish enough to imagine that an 800 word appreciation of “She Never Told Me She Was a Mime” is going to be a page-views blockbuster.
Besides, I began this project with the book in mind. The whole was always going to be greater than the sum of its parts. With professional copy-editing, extensive illustrations and an introduction from Al, who will also be fact-checking the book, it’s looking like it will be way more than the sum of its messy, imperfect but alive parts.
Normally I’m here pounding away at my laptop about how the streets must run red with the blood of the capitalist oppressors or writing something about Cookie Monster, so it’s a nice change of pace to be able to write about feeling happy and grateful and overcome with appreciation.
In the coming Class War, anyone who contributes to my Weird Accordion to Al Kickstarter will get an automatic pass from me, the unquestioned ruler of the coming Proletariat Revolution. Instead of being sent to a labor camp for “re-education” you’ll get a cushy job in television. With benefits! The kind I confusingly can’t procure for myself!
I want the money train to continue to chug beatifically into my Kickstarter account so I’m announcing a stretch goal: if we reach ten thousand dollars I will include a “I Want My Al-TV” PDF containing articles on every episode of The Weird Al Show and Al’s season of Comedy Bang Bang with every donation to the campaign.
It’s my way of saying “Thank you for the support.”
Thanks for letting me be and do me, on the big days and the little ones as well. Your support, economic and otherwise, allows me to continue to keep doing what I love and feel passionately about for a living in a perilous economy where that has become an increasingly rare and appropriately valued luxury.
You can contribute to my Patreon over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace
or, more pressingly, my Weird Accordion to Al Kickstarter over at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weirdaccordiontoal/make-the-weird-accordion-to-al-book-a-ridiculous-r?ref=user_menu