Friday, January 22, 2016

Fund Drive

Like anybody else, I have bills to pay.

I have mortgage(s) and a kid in college and the cat needs to eat and I’m preparing to pick up this year and move just about as far across the continent as is possible. As Stonekettle Station has increased in popularity, it takes up more and more of my time to do proper research and analysis, write the content you come here for, and manage the site, commenting, and the associated social media feeds.

And when I’m doing that, I’m not writing novels or short stories or paying copy or working in the woodshop.

Unless you’re Wil Wheaton, making a living from social media is an adventure and based on my evolving business model, every once in a while I need to run a donation drive. 

I don’t like this.

I don’t like asking for money.

Ideally, I write something and if you like it enough, you’ll kick in.  And thankfully, you do so often enough that I can mostly survive doing this. I’ll never get rich, but it beats writing advertising jingles or flipping burgers or getting shot at. That is going to become even more important to me as my business model evolves. More on that later.

I don’t like asking for money, it makes me very uncomfortable. So the last time I did this I found a way to assuage my conscience.

See, I turn trees into things, sometimes firewood but usually stuff more like this:



That’s a spalted Alaskan Birch bowl, turned in my shop by me. Signed. One of kind. 14” in diameter. It’s intended as art, but it would make a dandy – if expensive – salad bowl.

And it can be yours.

Here’s how it works:

- Donations of $50 or more:

Anybody who donates $50 or more during the period January 1 to February 15 will be put in the running to win this piece. That means if you’ve already donated to Stonekettle Station this month, you’re already entered to win.

- Donations of less than $50:

Anybody who donates between $1 and $49 between January 1st and Feburary 15th will be eligible to win a handmade customized laser-engraved pen in the same style I made for a number of famous writers at the World Science Fiction Convention (Sasquan) in Spokane, Washington last year.  I will randomly select TWO winners in this category. Winners will be able to specify what they want engraved on the pen within certain limitations (you can only fit so much on a pen barrel folks). And again, if you’ve already donated this month, you’re already entered to win.



You may enter more than once. Each donation will be counted as a unique entry.

Winners will be selected February 15th by Shopkat.

To donate, click on the “Donation” button on the upper right side of this screen and follow the directions.

Note: Those of you who already donate via an automatic monthly payment, you’ll be entered automatically in the drawing. 

Thank you.


Addendum: To be clear, this is not a lottery or a raffle.  Donations are voluntary subscription fees specifically in support of this blog, i.e. you’re paying for content not a chance to win something.

I am not claiming any tax-exempt status or charity.

Donations are considered business income and I pay all applicable state and federal taxes on that income and I have the records to prove it.

The bowl, the pens, those are my artwork, created and paid for by me.  As such I chose to randomly give them away to supporters, just as I gave away pens to writers and supporters.

I’m simply using this month’s subscriptions as the pool to select from since I have no other way to determine who readers are. 

You are not paying for a chance to win a prize, you’re paying for the content of this blog and my associated social media feeds.  And I’m using this opportunity to give something back other than just my usual blog essays, Facebook posts, and Tweets.

For those interested in purchasing my woodwork and artwork directly, click on the Stonekettle Store link at the top of this page. New bowls will be up later this week.

// Jim


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. FYI: Stonekettle Store link doesn't show on mobile devices unless you forcibly make it show you the desktop version of the site. Here's the link for anyone that needs it: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Stonekettle

  3. Minor typo - only one 'l' for Wil Wheaton.

  4. Pst - it's not September anymore, on your 1-49 category.

  5. Just restarted my monthly donation. It stopped for no reason that I know on my banking end, and I had other issues on my mind so I was remiss in restarting it. I will keep it going this time. You are a voice in the Wilderness, and I'm sure you will continue to be one even if you move to non-wilderness territory. Each column you share with us is worth a lifetime of punditry by any of the paid talking heads on TV--which I don't have and am no longer invited to watch at the homes of others because I yell at the screen and disturb their pets. Permanent time out from political TV is the only thing that works.

  6. Jim, I'd love to win the bowl, and I'll happily donate for a chance to do so, but if you could raffle off a place on your Facebook Friends list....well, that'd be really great. It seems to me that if the Koch Brothers can buy friends, we should be able to do it, too. -Karla

  7. One time donation plus set up a recurring amount, just like I do for my local public radio station. We have to support independent voices. I appreciate you every day and now you can receive useful evidence of my appreciation every month.

  8. Stonekettle is the recipient of my very first blog donation! I feel so trendy now! Thanks for all the smiles you've given me.

  9. Bought a Crooked Dog keyring fob instead. I love your blog and the time and thought it is apparent you put into it. Good luck with the move down close to my neck of the woods.

  10. I love your blog. It is one of the few things that relieves my misanthrophic depression. I only wish I were not quite so poor, so my donation could be larger. Someday I shall afford a shopkat spindle.. if there is ever a shopkat wall piece, the shelter here I work would be a great place for one(Austin Pets Alive!)

  11. Just donated...the bowl is beautiful but I don't need it. Thank you for your work, your humor, your service and the example that you set everyday.

  12. Bang Bang Crazy actually reached my much-loved, but slightly ammosexual brother. Happy to toss in the pot.

  13. As someone who lurks, gives you virtual high-fives, and never comments, I'm happy to contribute to keep you here. You don't even have to enter me into the drawing. I'll make that happen tomorrow. Keep doing what you do, please..I'm here in Alabama and you'll never convince anyone in my family (may all the gods help me with them!), but it's nice to know I'm not the crazy one in my family. (And I don't know how to make my name visible, so I'm Carol Hudson. I'll try to figure that out later when I'm not in the office. Nice to meet you.)

  14. O my stars! I thought I had already donated this year. That deficiency has been fixed.

  15. As you're woodworker, you might want to make a stop at the Bily(sp) clock museum in Iowa.

  16. Previously you had a shopkat designed item that had gauge holes for yarn. Ever thought about designing a decorative shopkat spaghetti measuring tool?

  17. Happy to help in some small way. Very much enjoy your writing, amazing woodworking, and the appearances by shopkat. Can't wait to see what you think of Florida. The panhandle might -might- be slightly saner than the rest, but even with that, there's a whole bunch of crazy down here.

  18. If you ever make fountain pen version of those turned pens, count me in :) I donated today and if I win one I'm giving it as a gift to my sister, who is a writer.

  19. Have you considered Patreon? You write a lot of great stuff, important stuff, and you might have a following willing to chip in a couple bucks every time you write an essay.


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