If you like my poetry and stories, please consider donating

Dear subscribers, regular readers, and anyone who happens to be wandering by, I need your help. This blog features a lot of random updates, but there are also two sections that involve a lot of work: the so-called Fairy Stories (I chose that category name to piss J.R.R. Tolkien off in the afterlife, but it has stuck) and Poetry (in recent years, as I began to publish my own poetry on this site).

There are also some personal essays that deserve your attention. Specifically: on Kate Atkinson, on my Ukrainian Jack of Hearts, on how my life went all wrong (or right?), on Kiev and some of the men I’ve met there, and this photo essay on my family in 1970s Crimea.  Oh, and this not-at-all personal essay on why Russians are into anal porn in a big way, heh heh (admit it, you’ve always wanted to know).

An editor myself, I believe in the power of editors. I rarely have time to have anyone else proof or critique what I publish on this site. I always think that while some of it can be compelling, it is also very raw.

Still, over the years, I’ve noticed that many of you have enjoyed my writing, and found it interesting and/or entertaining.

Some of you have occasionally donated to this site over the years. I’m sheepish about donations, but it’s time to admit it – they are very helpful. And in one instance, a donation tided me over through some fairly dark times.

Today, I need your help for two reasons.

1) Financial: I get a fair bit of freelance work, but have not been steadily employed for a while, and the freelance economy is brutal. It is like “Gladiator,” minus a hot Russell Crowe. Due to various complicating factors, I have really struggled these last few months. 

2) Psychological: I won’t bore you with a litany of professional setbacks. Let’s just say I have discovered what feels worse than being ignored: It’s having people be enthusiastic about you and your work, and then abruptly decide that they’re no longer enthusiastic. It’s part and parcel of being a writer, but when it happens repeatedly, it erodes your confidence. It’s like having a man tell you he loves you before being all “LOL JK.”

The ensuing sadness is a vicious cycle. You doubt yourself more, so you work less, and you doubt yourself some more, and so you work even less, etc. For years, I’ve been my family’s dependable breadwinner, but in these last few months, I’m just…not. I am paralyzed by doubt. I can’t even read a good book now without telling myself, “Why, here’s a person who can write – AS OPPOSED TO YOU, YOU DUMB COW.”

If you donated, it would not only help me stay afloat, it would also show me that my writing means something to you. It would be a big deal for me at this point in time. The amount is entirely up to you. Thank you. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Love to you and yours.

No guilt-trip, just good times

(P.S. The featured image on this post is taken from Fellini’s excellent “Nights of Cabiria.” Please watch it if you haven’t. But not if you’re horribly sad)

11 thoughts on “If you like my poetry and stories, please consider donating

  1. Ah, dear Natalia. I have been reading and following your work for years. I remain devoted and enthusiastic about it I would donate f I could, but I have recently taken a couple of severe financial blows and cannot spare any cash. I will give you some money as soon as I can. You have been a blessing to me, and a friend although I have never met you. I wish you all the best.

  2. I should mention, if you’re wondering who The Unspoken Word is, that’s it’s me… Good luck with this!


  3. I am a freelancer. I’ve never been invited to write for Mashable or Guardian or to speak on NPR. I don’t have thousands of followers on Twitter. I’ve never been put in charge of media outlets. You are treated like a princess but still ask for donations? I have worked my ass off by entire life, suffered rejection silently, and know at this point that I will never and I mean never enjoy the success you enjoy. So check your privilege. I am saying it as someone who’s a fan of your work. I just don’t think that great talent should make a person feel greatly entitled.

  4. Holly, I’m gonna refer you to this excellent writing on why internet fame rarely results in a decent or stable income:


    I’m all in favor of privilege checked and re-checked, but your assumptions stem from ignorance. And why the hell is it “entitled” to ask people to donate to help support a massive body of diverse work? Do you really think that artists and writers can eat their compliments and pay their rent in likes? I’m sure you don’t, since you talk about struggling too. It’s not an Olympics.

  5. First of all, thank you, guys. Your support means everything. ❤

    Second of all, Holly, you seem to be coming from a place of hurt. I completely understand that. Having said that, this post isn't targeted toward people who are also struggling. It's for whoever is willing and able to spare a few bucks if they happen to like my writing and feel like supporting it financially. Obviously, there is no pressure to contribute. I would suggest you sit down and carefully read the link that Lal provides. It mostly involves people on YouTube, but its central point rings true for many of us – subscribers and likes don't usually translate into any kind of financial security.

    Being a writer is like being on a rollercoaster. It is unpredictable, especially today. I meant what I said about the freelance economy, and I'm sure you understand it yourself. In better times, I donate to friends in need/support their projects/etc. I also frequently ask my followers on Facebook and Twitter to support quality end-of-life care in Russia, which is a huge pet issue of mine. In general, we all have causes we support. There is nothing wrong with reaching out to each other. This is what the world is all about when it is at its best. It's about giving as much as it is about receiving. To be blunt, I've always struggled with the receiving part. I always think I don't "deserve" it, and I think I recognize the same problem in you.

    I've done a lot of things for money. I've read tarot cards, walked people's dogs, edited their vampire sex sagas (no, really), posed as an artist's model, ran media outlets (sure enough), written, etc. I enjoy writing for money the most. I think it's what I'm best at. But this doesn't always mean submitting my work to magazines/publishers. It also means asking for support for the work that's available here. Honestly, is there a practical difference? Why is it OK to submit a poem to a magazine but not OK to publish it here and ask those who liked it to support it if they can?

    Honestly, you seem like you need support too – not just financial but psychological, though the two frequently go hand in hand – and instead of asking for it, you prefer to suffer nobly and attack those who have no patience for that sort of thing. It's silly, darling. And it's not going to heal you. Think about it and good luck. And Merry Christmas if you celebrate it.

  6. “It’s for whoever is willing and able to spare a few bucks if they happen to like my writing and feel like supporting it financially.”

    I am (able) and I do (like your writing), so I have (sent you some – financial – support yesterday via PayPal).

    Psychological support here and now: You deserve it. Honestly. 🙂

  7. It’s an honor and a pleasure to support the work I have enjoyed for some time–years, I’m sure. It may not be appropriate to describe your work as part of a new samzidat (sp?), but it may also serve a similar purpose: to nourish the beautiful freedom and passion for writing. Godde bless your efforts.May they thrive and you stay afloat!

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