What’s She Hiding?

She lives alone beside a lake – a middle aged homesteader with an old dog for company. But she’s got a secret…a BIG one! What’s she trying to hide?

Here’s a bit of an excerpt;

Ruger stretched out at my feet with a sigh. I pored over the paper slowly, skipping only the articles on the financial condition of the country. The country’s economic state doesn’t matter to me out here. But toward the back of the paper, tucked between a piece on the next Governor-General and a book review, was something that did catch my eye.

A short article on a hunter, missing somewhere in Northern Ontario for a little over a year.

A man I had been far too close to, a little over a year ago.

My gaze travelled without intention to the willow tree a few feet away. I’d planted it a year ago, but it was already as tall as a two-year-old tree. Obviously, it liked the soil there.

I read the article again and hoped no one would look for the missing hunter again.

After I read the paper, I went about my chores. I took wood in the house and piled it near the door, but far enough away from the woodstove to be safe. It had come from a tree blown down by the biggest storm of the previous year. Thankfully, it had been a good solid oak, without any hives or nests. I tossed a piece or two in the woodstove, pushed them down into the embers and shut the stove door tight. That would keep it going while I split more wood. 

It was a never-ending need, wood. It provided my heat and fuel for cooking. In the summertime, I cooked more in the outdoor oven I’d built from stone and clay, but it was wood-fired too. This past spring, Anne and I had agreed to split the cost of a load of wood. She had a friend who sold entire tree-length logs by the tractor-trailer. He delivered and she cut them up to the right length from there. She had offered to split the load, proposing a generous price and payment plan. I didn’t refuse. It was better than cutting down all the trees around my cabin. Over lunch, she had told me to expect my half of the wood any day this week.

I took a break from splitting to catch my breath and once again eyed the willow tree. Perhaps it was time to start building a woodpile there. I set my maul down and walked over to the tree, studying the ground at its base. The ground was starting to cup. I nodded to myself and went back toward the cabin. I cut a thick five-foot pole, shaped the end into a point and paced four feet away from the willow. With my mallet, I pounded the pole as deep as I could. That would hold one end of the wood-pile while the willow provided support at the other end. Then I retrieved my wheelbarrow from the shed. It didn’t take long to lay out the first layer of wood splits between the willow tree and the pole.

Far less time to hide my secret than I had been living with the existence of it.

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The Puzzle of Patronage

PATRONAGE: noun

  • the support or influence of a patron
  • the patronage of science by universities

Historically, artists, musicians, writers, and inventors would search out wealthy kings, popes, philanthropists and other folks of influence. Sometimes those influential people would search out artists, scholars, and the aforementioned creatives to sponsor. They would support the creative with social prestige, contacts through networking, encouragement and financial aid. 

Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and William Shakespeare all had patrons. The British Royal Family lends their patronage to various charities through exposure, contacts, time and occasionally, endowments. Modern benefactors support art galleries, museums, theater companies and other creative endeavours through financial support. Venture capitalists do the same sort of thing – supporting start-ups and emerging companies with growth potential. Only here, we’re talking about creative-folk. 

So why am I talking about this today? Because YOU can be a part of all this! 

On Patreon, patrons can support creators with either a fixed amount per month or every time the artist releases a new piece of art/piece of writing/podcast/whatever. A creator displays a goal that the ongoing revenue will go towards, so you can see what your support will be used for. Patrons can cancel their payments at any time. So what’s in it for you? Creators usually provide membership benefits for their patrons, which varies depending on their artistic mediums and the level of support. It could be a one-on-one with a rising star in film, or musician. You might get an exclusive sneak peek at a new piece of artwork before the general public does, or read a new chapter from a favourite author, or see an exclusive video from an animator. It all depends on the benefits each creator offers. But basically, fans subscribe either per work or per month in exchange for premium content.

Consider this, a donation of $3/month to a writer who promises to share exclusive flash fiction and sneak peeks at their current work in progress doesn’t sound like much, right? But if 15 people – patrons – all contribute $3/month that’s an income of $540/year. That could be the difference between paying car insurance or not. So your $3 enables a writer to get their own car to drive their kids to soccer, enabling the kids to be healthier. Or that extra $3 becomes part of a fund to help put someone’s kid through college. Or an emergency medical fund, or gas money for someone who has to travel for an ongoing medical procedure. My point is, what might seem to be a measly $3 to one person may become a part of something larger with enormous impact in someone else’s life. 

Is becoming a patron something you can do? Only you know the answer to that, but I do hope you’ll pop over to patreon.com and check them out. You might be surprised at the good you can do. If it appeals to you, you can find my page at https://www.patreon.com/cmcbride