the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Another Writer Seeking Help

A member of a writing group I belong to recently faced an emergency. His cat was injured, and required stitches. The vet's bill used up all the money he'd been counting on for the month of April. I discovered that he lives on a fixed income, so this is a real problem. Now, I know a lot of you are struggling yourselves. I certainly don't have the right to say where your money should go. But I do want to at least mention the situation.

Before linking to his post, I'd like to make some comments of my own, referring to concerns that have already been voiced about this appeal. If you bother to go over and read his post, you will read some things that probably will upset you. My own perspective is a bit different; if you are willing to even consider a small donation to help him, I hope you'll give me a few minutes to explain how I see it.

First of all, in a later post, he makes remarks that suggest to me he has been criticised for feeding pets, and for paying such a large vet bill, when he has so little to begin with. One reason I am writing a post it makes me extremely uncomfortable to write is the fact that I can only respect someone who will help an animal without counting the cost.

No matter how poor you are, there are strays who can use your care, and you can use their love. Those animals deserve to be taken care of. For some time now, I've had 'negative cash flow' thanks to vet bills, medications, and fluids, on top of all the ordinary expenses, for a cat who belonged to a friend. The friend died, and I faced a choice: have him put to sleep, or have him treated. Even though he wasn't my cat, I couldn't look into his eyes and take him in to be killed while he still wanted to live.

The other concerns are ones I at least understand, even if I don't completely agree with them. When you read the original appeal, he has listed items he needs, and items he would like money for. Among those are some undoubted luxuries. CDs and comics are the two items that have attracted the most notice. Some have suggested those items hint this is just a scam.

When I first read the list, I suspected many people would think that, but in my experience, scammers wouldn't be that honest and obvious. They'd claim four or five fictitious, starving kids, or mention something more likely to evoke sympathy than outrage. Now, even if it isn't a scam, why should you buy someone else CDs and comics just because they'd like them? I'm not saying you should. Just please read on.

Yes, anyone has a right to put up a post, if they like, asking for CDs, comics, or anything else they might wish for. Anyone who reads it has a right to ignore their request. I have more money going out than coming in, so I'm not going to contribute to such a fund myself. What I am saying is, first, that he is at least honest about what he'd like, which isn't a scam, and, second, I'm worried that, as a side effect of his honesty, so few people will donate that he, his wife, and his pets will starve.

I'm sure most of you still see it as bold and rude, at the very least, to ask for luxuries from strangers. What I don't think many of you would consider is this: he is living on a small, fixed income and has been for some time. I have enough experience of such a situation to understand that luxuries are so scarce the line between luxury and necessity becomes blurred. You budget what you have to have, then fit in as much as you can beyond that. And you forget which is even which, sometimes.

Many people are struggling with money right now. Most who read this probably can't help. Even if you can help, you may not want to. That is your decision, and your right. I'm not trying to shame anyone into doing anything they don't want to do. If you're afraid of a scam, I can tell you that Sky has been a member of a mailing list based writing group I'm also a part of for at least a year. We live on opposite coasts, so I don't know him personally.

Other than that, I don't know anymore than he says in his post here and his update, here. I don't believe he's a scammer, and I've told you why. Those posts probably annoyed you; scammers would be more persuasive. Those posts, to me, read like a real person, in a real situation, awkward and with idea how to go about making such an appeal work.

You'll have to make up your own minds what to do, but I hope you'll forgive me for at least mentioning this. If there are any conspiracy theorists reading this, you might assume I'm a scammer, and the other posts are just ones I put up using a different identity. Whatever you think, I just hope that, somehow, two human beings and several cats and dogs manage to survive the month of April. If you don't feel able, or willing, to donate, I hope you'll at least add your prayers to mine that that will be so.


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Blogger Schuyler Thorpe said...

Thanks Ray. This means a lot to me. You said it like it is--and it's everything I've been petitioning these last few days.

You are a true friend for helping out.


April 06, 2008 5:43 PM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said...

Wow--I can certainly understand where your friend is coming from. I, too, have had more vet bills than money, and mostly because I was helping a cat nobody else wanted, or on whom everyone had given up. I'll come up with something to give.

April 09, 2008 12:03 PM  
Blogger Suzan Abrams said...

Hi Ray,
I don't doubt you for a minute. I'll write to you shortly on the email about this and see how I can send a couple of things on. Give me a day or so. :-)

April 14, 2008 1:19 PM  

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