Well, this is very hard to write. I hate being anything but positive in energy, and more than that, I hate asking for help. I was raised in a family that helps and gives to others, not the other way around. We’re mostly very lucky and blessed and have always had a lot of blessings some others don’t have.
But the situation is dire. As depression goes, today is one of those days where you feel like you could lay down, go to sleep, and never wake up and the world would be a better place. It’s been a long time since I had a day like this, despite being on depression meds for almost eighteen months. But the burdens of the moment feel so overwhelming.
For those who don’t know, in May 2010, I was laid off/fired from my technical writing job. There were excuses made about work being adequate but no great and not having enough for me to do, but no one could or would provide concrete examples. Up to that point I’d been praised for my work. Some clients friends did some checking and found that the company had financial issues and one of them was providing health insurance, as a small business for their fifteen or so employees. Since my wife’s mental illness issues were flaring and she was on a lot of meds, in and out of the hospital, and having lots of medical appointments, I began to suspect it was more about that liability than my performance. Never had enough to prove so I had to let it go but I was offered a six month severance package and asked to sign a termination agreement to not sue the company now or in the future for anything. This just made me more suspicious.
In any case, I went on unemployment and began honing my resume and looking for work. As of this date, I am still unemployed. Three times I have reached third interview and had the company apologetically tell me they had a last minute hiring freeze. None of those freezes, to my knowledge, have yet been lifted. Twice I was a final candidate and told someone else had a slight edge and was chosen. I worked with many “resume” excerpts through this 26 months on various resumes and kept trying.
In the midst of this, my 18.5 year old cat died. She’d been with me half my life. I’m still getting over it and feeling like I lost both child and best friend.
Then my part time job decided since I was looking for work out of state, they couldn’t wait to see what happened and replaced me. About this time, misfiled paperwork from the full time job messed up unemployment in a cycle that cost us all income from November 2010 through February 2011. Just as we got it reinstated, my wife’s mental illness flared again and she spent the next six months in and out of the hospital. I was forced to commit her against her will multiple times and to file several thousand dollars worth of legal actions to get guardianship just so I could oversee her care. Although she did finally get the treatment needed and turn around, she also decided to divorce me as much for taking away her rights as anything else.
So I spent more money for a divorce and, finally, last Fall, relocated back to Kansas to be near family who could help with the dogs, etc. and to have cheaper cost of living. After going through 2.5 years of hell with very little close support (new city, new friends, not enough established ties so people mostly walked away or kept emotional distance), I finally came back where I at least had strong shoulders to lean on. But try as I have, and I apply to jobs constantly, revise my resumes again as I have, I am still getting nowhere on jobs.
To their credit, Grail Quest Books and Delabarre Publishing have given me some opportunities to both edit, copyedit, and to write kids’ books, etc. This has been good to have, but it’s not enough to get me back to financial stability and it’s also case-by-case, not steady. I still carry the burden of web costs for SFFWRTCHT’s website as well as related materials when the publishers don’t provide them. This includes postage and packaging for giveaways, etc. (You’ll notice we’ve been having less). I do this without complain because I love what I do and am proud to help the SFF community and other authors. But there are costs involved like anything.
This weekend I went to Con-tamination in Saint Louis. They offered me a free dealer table. I stayed with family. I ate most meals free. Just had to pay for gas. Sales were slow and paltry but I did make connections. But I also arrived to discover that somehow my digital camera LCD had been damaged. Then, driving home my engine somehow burned out and has to either be replaced or I may have to get yet another car. This car was bought in February with help from my parents.
My dad and mom are retired. They have been helping us now for 2.5 years and carrying an incredible burden. Several hundred a month to over a thousand when things came up. I was left with significant debt in the divorce, a portion of which they paid to refinance for me. I’ve so far made no payments on that but instead have had to pay on other debt, student loans, etc.
Sum it up by saying, I’m in big trouble here. I am living as frugally as I can. But I can’t cover this car replacement or repair nor a camera and my parents are really overburdened.
So I find myself asking if anyone knows of work or financial aid or anything that might help. It really hurts to ask. But the economy is not getting better. Unemployment benefits may well run out again because I’m on my last extensions. And I’m feeling lost and hopeless as to how to change anything. In any case, if you pray, I appreciate prayers. But if anyone call beyond that bryan.thomas at anchoredmusic.com is my PayPal. Or you can send by Dwolla at yaornw at yahoo.com. It sucks to be in this position but I’ve kept busy doing SFFWRTCHT and helping others promote books, writing, freelance editing, and volunteering even as I search for work. If I was paid for the hours I put in it would be full time. This crisis, unfortunately, is one too many. My second novel releases tomorrow. And I’m getting ready to cancel the next two cons etc. if I can’t get past this and maybe even if I can. I just can’t go on like this. We’re waiting on the final estimate but for a new engine or car it would run $2-4,000. My camera can wait, as I have a film one that functions, but I’ll have to spend $100-150 for that, too, at some point.
Anyway, thanks all for listening. I have nothing to give back other than time and friendship beyond what I already do. There are stories free on my website but I am mid-novels with nothing new to offer as an extra, so I count on your good hearts.
11 thoughts on “A Humble Plea For Help To Any Who Would Hear”
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pray for you. And I will. Since you mentioned prayer, I wonder if you might be interested in scripture that has been especially meaningful to me through a dark and dangerous post-partum depression: 2 Chronicles 20 – the whole chapter. Josiah is outnumbered and manages to ask for help. He tells his God, “We do not know what to do but our eyes are on you.” I find myself in the same situation at times.
While I cannot help you financially at this moment, I appreciate your courage and tenacity. Thank you for asking for help, and my hope is that your plea will be answered abundantly.
Wow. I wish I could think of something off the top of my head. Other than prayers. You’ve done so much editing work, maybe an independent press that is growing and in need of an editor? (Or would that be a conflict?) I know a couple people who work at WiDo Publishing – Karen Gowen is an editor there and they have a growing staff.
Bryan, you should put a “donate” button somewhere. I’ve seen other bloggers who provide significant value to followers, like you do with #sffwrtcht, for free give their readers the option to donate. I don’t think anyone would think you weren’t entitled to put the option out there.
And hang in there, man. That all totally sucks. You’ve been through about every item on the “most stressful life experiences” list.
I knew things were not going well for you, but I’m sorry to hear that life keeps whittling away at you. I agree with Leah that a donate button so that folks can show their appreciation for SFFWRTCHT and your blogging is a good idea. Take strength from every source that offers it. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.
All this really, really stinks. You have my sympathy.
As for income, have you tried online jobbing? Places like E-Lance and Fiverr come to mind. There are folks looking for specific tasks to be done – some of it will be writing copy and no doubt other things you can do.
It may be slow to get started, but as a freelancer myself, I can tell you it DOES get there in the end. I’ve been living mainly from such sites for about 4 years now, and once you build up your cred, there is likely to be more work than you want.
I’m with Grace and suggest fiverr! You could offer to edit short stories or resumes or lots of other technical writing type opportunities there!
For $5? I deserve more than that for editing a short story. I usually get $25 an hour minimum.
Please put up a donate button for #sffwrtcht. I’m happy to donate towards that fund. I’m sure other regulars to the chat and those that benefit from it would also be willing to chip in for it.
Thanks, Bryan, for all you do to support other authors and introduce readers to new books.
Sending good wishes your way, since I don’t have any funds right now, either. But at least my husband is employed again. If I hear of any job openings, I’ll let you know.
I’m echoing Jaleta – put that #sffwrtcht donate button up. I’m always in financial hardship mode, but I’ll see if after I my next paycheck comes in I can send something – though I have to warn you even if I can it won’t be very much. Hang in there.
Hey, Bryan, just sent a donation. Hope they’re able to get the new engine in in reasonable time.
Thanks, Gary. To you and a few others. They’ll have it tomorrow. Install time is a question mark. I never realized how isolating it feels to not have a car.
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