October 26, 2012

With Apologies for the Interruption...

The end of the month approaches once more. It always comes up on me much more quickly than I expect. At the moment, I have only about one-third of what is required to pay next month's rent, along with a few basic first-of-the-month bills. So I regret that I must ask for donations again. I know that times are increasingly difficult for many people, and I'm deeply sorry to have to make the request for many reasons.

For the benefit of any newer readers who might see this, a brief review: I have no source of income whatsoever other than donations I receive here. My very bad and steadily deteriorating health makes it impossible for me to do anything other than write on the blog; unfortunately, my health gets so bad that I am sometimes unable to post anything for weeks at a time (and sometimes, as over this past terrible summer, a few months). The major physical problem (that I am aware of) is a weak and failing heart. Since I have no money and no insurance, the only medical care I receive is on those occasions when I am forced to call 911. I've had to do that twice in the last few years; I was briefly hospitalized on both occasions. I suffer from atrial fibrillation, among other things. I take medication for that, when I have a prescription and when I can afford it. But several months after the 911 calls, the prescriptions run out, and I have no way of getting another one (until I call 911 again -- and the experience was so ghastly last time, that I resist calling unless I genuinely believe a huge crisis is upon me). I have an assortment of other problems (general, severe weakness and periodic, sometimes extreme, difficulty breathing, which may be the result of the heart problems and/or something else; a strange lump on my left testicle, which is occasionally painful; two or three other things -- none of which are treated at all, or even diagnosed); the net result is that I am almost entirely housebound, as I have been for several years. It requires a monumental effort simply to walk to the corner store and back. I try to do that once or twice a week, for the minimal exercise -- and to try to maintain a very small semblance of actually living.

So it's all very dreadful; at regular intervals, generally five or six times a month, I have unusually bad episodes. I slowly get dressed and gather the few things I would need for the hospital -- and then I wait to see if I think I have to call 911. When you don't have a regular doctor and are forced to rely on emergency care for everything -- with no oversight of any kind by a personal physician -- the experience is profoundly unnerving, even terrifying. The last time, when I had to have blood transfusions and several other procedures, I felt like a lab rat being subjected to a series of nightmarish experiments. I won't go through that again unless I have absolutely have to.

That's the situation in which I try to write. It's not precisely a happy experience. Given that, I think the recent essays turned out well. I very much want to continue them, but I fear it may be several days at least before the next one appears. I've mentioned that it was unusually hot for extended periods in Los Angeles this past summer. The heat keeps coming back: it was in the nineties a few days last week, and we are now told it will be around 90 degrees and possibly above over the weekend. The heat makes all of my physical problems worse, sometimes much worse. It won't be a fun weekend for me.

I want to offer very special thanks to those few people who make regular donations. You are my personal angels, and I cannot thank you enough. I also thank all those who make donations, in any amount at all. I am enormously grateful. And to anyone who is thinking of donating: I greatly appreciate it, and this would be a very good time to contribute even a small amount. I have to pay the rent and other basic bills at the end of next week. I'm very sorry I almost never send personal emails to thank contributors. I send very few emails of any kind; I save whatever energy I have (not much) for writing the articles, when I can.

I have one other request, of a different kind. I began blogging in September 2002. I've been doing this for a little over ten years. (As I explain every now and then: most of the articles from the first several years have been offline for about six years, since the archives at my previous site were corrupted. I've reposted a few of those earlier pieces; most of them will probably not be available again. I have neither the time nor the energy to repost them, which must be done for each individual post and takes time and strength I don't have.)

I have fewer readers now than at almost any time in the last decade. On most days, I have less than a thousand visitors; often, much less. I sometimes think about what I consider to be the quality of some of my articles -- the recent "Accomplices to Murder" is a good example -- and think about how few people see them, and... Well, I try not to think about it too much or for too long. It tends to put me in an exceptionally bleak frame of mind. It's profoundly depressing.

Yesterday, I happened to see a comment from someone who claims to admire my writing. This person wondered if I knew how "widely read" I was. The person wanted to be sure I knew. The links to the traffic stats for the blog are available to anyone. They're at the bottom of the page. As I just indicated, I am not "widely read" by any measure. It's an utterly fantastical notion. By internet standards, my audience is close to non-existent. I could post a single picture of a naked woman (or man) with an anodyne headline ("The Naked Truth"), and with no text or comment of any kind, and my traffic would doubtless triple or quadruple within hours. I occasionally think of doing precisely that, just for the hell of it.

I've always been very bad at self-promotion. I can't stand to do it and, except for very brief periods at various times in my life, I've never been able to do it with any consistency. And now, even if I wanted to do it, I simply don't have the strength and concentration to spend several hours sending links to my articles to various writers and bloggers, or leaving links in comments sections on different sites. So this is my other request: if you like my writing, if you think it deserves a larger audience, please publicize my articles in any way you can. Obviously, the more widely you can do it, and the more places you can leave links, the better. If I am ever to have an audience of any size, you will have to make it happen. I can't do it myself. I know that some people do this already, and I'm very grateful. I also know that other readers don't do it at all.

So those are my requests: money and fame! Hahaha. But in truth, just in very small amounts. I'm merely trying to hold on to minimal survival here.

As always, I am deeply appreciative of your time and consideration.