I’ve been ruminating on this entry for about a week now, unsure of how to present it without losing integrity or sounding like someone I want to hit the mute button on. Speaking of buttons, I have a close friend who’s deeply involved in the street skating industry. He once told me that he unaffectionately refers to to the fast forward button (while watching skate videos) as “the vert button”. “No one cares about that shit”, he said, “So, whenever it’s a shitty part, we just hit the vert button.” Harsh. Yes. I happen to love skating vert and watching it… but the point is, I want you to read this and actually consider it. I don’t want to become a button, man.
(skip to the section with the link in it if you just want to help out and Don’t want to hear a couple of of sordid stories…even though that’s no fun)
Henry Miller. If only he were alive today… I spend a great deal of time obsessing over him even more than his writing. He famously had a decades long affair with the diarist, Anais Nin. Her wealthy husband supported her so that she may be left to write her memoirs that herald her sexual endeavors with various artists, sculptors, writers, actors and equally brilliant women. She used her marital allowance to support these affairs and the art of her lovers. This was no secret between she and her husband, but it is an example of classically valid and time honored behavior between artists and aristocrats. Those who do not create have long been mesmerized by those who Do. The counter establishment and avant-garde existence of these artists in their day-to-day has only fueled these taboo relationships. Be as weird as you fucking want to and there’s probably someone out there who will pay for it. Here you have it. Patronage.
Miller, prior to Anais, was married to his second wife, June, and living in Brooklyn. June and Henry were married on my birthday in 1924. Yes, this makes me feel special. June was gorgeous and unstable and forced Miller into a polyamorous relationship with another woman whom she moved into their apartment, although the poly part never much applied because Henry abhorred June’s lover. Historically, June was a lesbian (although she would never admit to it), and her relationship with Henry was based mostly on her ability to control him. She was incredibly mentally abusive from the beginning, persuading him to leave his first wife, Beatrice, and their young daughter so that she may become his self appointed muse and mentor. These proved difficult feats since June was also an opioid addict. June worked as what would translate now into a modern day escort. She would say that she did this all for Henry so that he wouldn’t have to work and could focus only on his writing and on her. This would be Miller’s first experience with Patronage. This was not an entirely effective plan as they lived in poverty during their entire time together. They once tried to donate to a blood bank as a last resort to pay the rent but were rejected due to poor health. They spent their inadequate would-be rent funds imbibing on cheap wine and cigarettes into the daylight hours as an act of protest.
Henry would go on to live his entire life through the generosity of Patrons. When it was time to begin a new project or send an existing one off to print, he would send out his famous “Begging Letters” to admirers, people in the government, publishers and long time friends. He changed American Literature as we know it and he truly believed that he had to suffer to do it. He lived hand to mouth, but those hands were his patrons, and he couldn’t have made such a lasting impact without them.
Now, I’ve never asked a stranger for anything more valuable than directions. I moved out when I was 16 and I have, indeed, done questionable things to pay the rent. There was the night of The Moroccan Hookers. DJ booth dealings to GM’s and Managers in high places. Dishonest paperwork, which led to me being sued for $24,000 by the US Government, but which first allowed me to travel the world for nearly two years. These are not things that I brag of or am proud of. They were all prior to me being free from chemical dependency and they definitely left me with a lot of amends to make. Five years ago, I can honestly say that I didn’t think I was even going to make it to 40. I was in the darkest place I’d ever been. But the Survival Instinct is just something you either have or you don’t. They say we’re all born with it but I know that’s bullshit.
When “Patreon” was suggested to me, I honestly thought that it was a porn site because I had seen it as verbiage on web-cam type instagram accounts. “Patreons get the Special video. Click here to become a member!” So I immediately was like… “No, man. I’m done with that sorta thing hahaha!” (I’ve actually never done a web-cam type thing because I’d be terrible at it). When I learned that Patreon was where artists go to Get Paid, it piqued my interest more. So, I’m trying it out. The page, itself, is like a subdued version of this. I can actually be professional when I need to be and, regardless, I’m always gracious and respectful. There’s no pressure here and you can have a look and help out only if you want to. The description of what I’m trying to accomplish and some forethought on my upcoming trip to Upstate New York to work on my book are detailed there. Basically, I want to write a book that will make a difference in people’s lives. I believe that I can do that. With the help of those who believe that I can as well, I think I have a shot at making this dream a reality.
This is the Patreon Page and you can visit it at any time. It will be on my “About” page permanently: I swear I don’t want to be that guy As an avid devotee of Henry Miller, I’m willing to try most things that he has at least once. Let’s see if this can work out and hopefully I’ll gain more opportunities like the one below. Thank you for reading! This was a long one!