Over at Shakesville, one of my all-time favourite blogs, blogmistress Melissa has this to say about being a blogger and asking for gifts/money:
“Asking for money is incredibly hard for me. I hate doing it. I hate doing it so much, in fact, that there are times I’d actually rather be shit-broke. Part of it is just an innate aversion to asking for anything; part of it is that those threads always end up being extremely upsetting, for reasons that I imagine are evident to anyone who’s read any of them.
[...] Women’s service work, whether it’s mothering, elder care, volunteering, philanthropy, social work, employment in any “pink collar” profession, or social advocacy, is gravely devalued, frequently to the point where it is unpaid work altogether.
And when I don’t ask that my work be valued by the community, I’m feeding that narrative; I’m implicitly saying, “It’s okay to expect this from me. It’s okay to feel entitled to the product of a woman’s work for nothing in return.”—and that makes me feel even worse than asking for money does.”
In the four plus years I’ve run it, I’ve never really asked for money for One Night Stanzas. Sure, in the early days I posted the odd only-half-joking “wishlist”, and until someone tried to steal the image for my painstakingly-designed ‘donate’ button, ONS also had a tip-jar on the sidebar. But I’ve never actively asked for gifts or done anything to make you guys feel like you have to pay to read. It’s worth noting that I’ve also never attempted to make cash off the blog in other ways — I have done a grand total of one kind-of-sort-of-sponsored post in my entire four plus years as a blogger, and I’ve never, ever run ads here. I blog because I like it. Because I’m gobby and have lots of thoughts about stuff. Because the internet scares me and I want a corner of it that’s really safe for me to be — a space that’s just mine.
That said, Melissa did get me thinking. I’ve been hard at work in this space for over four years and it’s not just an echo chamber — although I’ve been moving more and more towards a ‘comments off’ policy here over the past little while (it’s just so much WORK, you guys), I know people do follow, read, enjoy what’s here. Therefore, why not ask for a little recognition? It’s just asking, right? It feels decidedly un-British, but hey, I’m going to do it anyway. So if you’ve read and liked/laughed at/been inspired by/shared the stuff I’ve been putting here over the past year or so*, then why not read on? I’ve included a few very small, very cheap ways that you can give a little something back to One Night Stanzas this festive season.
Buy my book.
You might already have it, but you can always give it as a gift to someone you know who likes one of the following things: poetry, old ladies, typewriters, books, Star Trek. For it has all those things and more inside its pages. There are only three copies left so this is the last chance you’ll ever get to buy one (except maybe in charity shops in years to come). They’re only four quid plus P&P. Read kind things smart people have said about the book — and then rush to buy a copy — right here.
Buy one of the books I have edited.
Sadly, the wonderful — even if I do say so myself — Skin Deep: Poems on Tattoos and Tattooing is now sold out. But! You can still buy one of the two Read This Press titles still available. The first of the two is Chris Lindores’ brilliant debut pamphlet You Old Soak. These are poems about drinking, awkward social interaction, walking around Edinburgh at night, and drinking some more. This book had a limited printing of 150 copies and each copy is uniquely hand-embellished with real red wine stains! Again, only four quid, and available here. The second of the two is the anthology Starry Rhymes: 85 Years of Allen Ginsberg, which contains poems from such superstars (seriously) as Ryan Van Winkle, Tracey S Rosenberg and Colin McGuire. It received a glowing review from the lovely Chris Emslie at Sabotage, which you should totally read. Again, your copy will be one of a tiny limited print run of 140 — every copy was painstakingly handmade! It’s only a fiver and it’s perfect for the Beat Generation enthusiast in your life. You can grab a copy right here.
Make a donation to Scottish Women’s Aid, or help someone living in a refuge
Earlier this year I completed training to become a Scottish Women’s Aid Community Champion, and the work I’ve done with SWA since has been one of the best things about my year. They’re an extremely deserving organisation whose staff, paid and voluntary, all work their socks off to make the lives of women in Scotland and beyond better, brighter and happier. The more donations they get, the more cool projects they can run — check out the recent I GET IT campaign, designed to get young people talking about what makes a healthy relationship — and the more difference they can make. You can buy me the Christmas present of a donation by clicking right here.
If you prefer, you can buy a real present for a woman or child who has been the victim of domestic violence or who is houseless at Christmas for some other reason. John Lewis has a gift list (number 522953) that allows you to buy a gift and send it straight to a woman or child currently living in a refuge. (NB: when picking gifts, bear in mind that most folk are likely to get things for babies. Bear the mums and older kids in mind, too!)
Buy something from Edinburgh Vintage.
Edinburgh Vintage is one of the many various things I do to keep the wolf from the door, as my gran would say, each month. I run it out of my spare room and most of the time, love it (occasionally — like recently, when an Etsy scam buyer swizzled me out of a gold watch AND the money it cost — not so much). It would be a big and much-appreciated deal to me if some of you fine people were to help support this little venture. There are some really nice bits and piece on there at the moment that, in my humble opinion, would make great Christmas gifts — and buying secondhand means unique presents that’re great for the environment! My picks might be this blue enamel coffeepot, which I am totally keeping if no one buys it by Christmas; this totally unused Estee Lauder cosmetics/beauty bag; a sleepy white kitty or a grey Beswick one for the cat-lovers in your life; this novelty wintery jumper, and maybe this amazing antique harmonica (I’m not a musician but this is one covetable little item!). Whether you decide to buy or not, I’d still super-appreciate it if you’d just have a browse (NB: I have a sale section AND a final clearance section)!
Buy me a present present.
If you’re feeling extra-super-generous, you can buy me an actual gift. I never expect anyone to actually do this, but it has happened very occasionally in the past and I’ve always been bowled over by the loveliness and generosity of my readers! So if this is an option you want to go for, you can check out my Etsy favourites (the first page is a lot of bling jewellery I’m keeping an eye on for my some-day lottery win… skip past that for the cheap second hand books and geek paraphenalia!) or my Amazon wishlist. I also get Christmas cards yearly from some ONS readers which is super super super lovely. If you’d like to Christmas card me, drop me a line to claire[at]onenightstanzas.com and I’ll let you know where to address your envelope to (by the way, die-hard readers… I no longer have the ONS PO Box I had for the first couple of years, so if you’ve saved that address, get in touch for a new one)!
If you do any of these things this Christmas, I will seriously love you forever. I will also double-triple promise to continue writing at One Night Stanzas, so this is srs stuff! There’re only twenty days to go now til the big day, so I think it’s no longer too premature to say this: Merry Christmas, ONS readers one and all!
*(If you haven’t, you can just look at these cute photos of a polar bear.)
You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!