Saturday, 7 February 2015

a week in the life of a storyteller: health and wellbeing restored

Fever, aches, nausea, thickness of head had dominated the previous week. Plans cancelled, work suspended in a fog of sleep and catch-up tv watching.

This week, optimism led to a premature return to activity, and fellow church-goers worrying I would not make it home without fainting part way there. I did. Make it home, that is. 

Pessimism and downright despair exacerbated the fever and nausea on Monday, as worry about diminishing bank balances led to concern that the rent could not be paid. I applied for more jobs, having been unsuccessful with the last round. I received a phone call. Thank you for your resume - are you free to come to a recruitment session tomorrow? Free? Yes. Well enough? Just. I will come. 

I met with the managers of the centre, which offers tutoring in Maths and English to children aged 4 to 14, and met with some of the kids. From job ad to phone call and now here in the centre itself, my enthusiasm for the job grew beyond the necessary income it could provide. I have missed hanging out with young folk, since moving away from my congregation in September. I may have still been experiencing the after-effects of the virus, and possibly even a bit of a fever, but I was so energised from that afternoon in a centre that values young people and wants to see them thrive that I just about forgot I'd been sick at all. The managers noticed my enthusiasm, and I was offered a job (and sighed the deepest sigh of relief on reading that email, I can tell you!). If you are reading this, Belair Uniting young ones, you helped get me this job - thank you. What I learnt from you, from being your minister - the collaborating on creative projects, the deep conversation about God and life and Dr Who - is all experience my new employers value very much. 

My maths is rusty, but the organisation's training will help with that, and in time, I may get to lead the creative writing sessions, which will be a great joy. In the mean time, I get to facilitate the learning of young ones in Edinburgh, hear their stories, and have a whole lot of fun. 

Watching stuff on my computer while under the weather, I discovered a site called Patreon. For some time, I have been pondering the possibility of a crowd-funding campaign: seeking financial support from fans so that I can continue to produce the work I believe people appreciate. 

I was somewhat reluctant to seek employment, to a certain extent, because I have this feature length storytelling production in development, and hours working another job alongside the full-time study for the PhD would likely mean (in)humanity would not be finished, or not for quite some time. I believe in this show, these stories - for they grow out of my conviction that we experience our full, healed and whole humanity together, and that any fear that divides is ultimately no match for the love that brings us together. 

Crowd-funding would seem to offer a solution - but these campaigns are short-lived, and my income is insecure a long way into the future. Patreon is an even better solution - fans can pledge a regular amount, and I will commit to producing work regularly in return. I will also throw in 'rewards' as a thank you when new patrons join in support. 

My hope is that with the tutoring job, the continuing distance assessment work for Uniting College in Adelaide, and support from patrons I will find a good balance of necessary income on which to live, and time in which to produce the stories and poems at the heart of my vocation and identity, my contribution to the health and wholeness of us all. 

If you would like to become a patron of this storyteller and poet, please follow this link to my Patreon page - all gifts welcome, you can control how much you give, and can withdraw any time. 

In between all that, I have managed a return to my desk at college, where I have written an abstract for a conference, continued planning for that conference (I'm helping to coordinate it), finally got the draft outline for the University's Innovative Learning Week session I am leading in a couple of weeks, picked up where I was with the reading for the current work for my supervisor, and caught up with friends. 

Most afternoons the energy is diminishing early still, and Wednesday I feared I would have to cancel another outing, but a little lie down refreshed me sufficiently, and out I went after all. Not only did I enjoy good food (once we deciphered the exotic menu) and great company and conversation (we were doing pub theology, and pondered 'happiness' in wide-ranging explorations), but I got to drink my favourite beer, the beer that is made in my home town - a Coopers Pale Ale. deep sigh of appreciation and love. 

The longer I am away from home, the further away I begin to feel (and when you're sick and isolated, you feel it even more), so this taste of home was very welcome. Also welcome are these opportunities to receive a living, in ways that use my gifts as well. Even more the gift this week is the company of friends; after a week of isolation it has been soul-restoring to be back among the several groups of friends with whom I belong here in Edinburgh. 

1 comment:

Heather said...

Sarah: so glad to hear that things are looking up! The tutoring job actually sounds quite exciting.