17 January

Voluntary Payments for 2017: An Important Year For the Blog

by Jon Katz
Voluntary Payments

This year will be an important one for me, and for the blog, I wanted to remind you good people of the voluntary payment program, launched about a year ago. Essentially, this is a voluntary program that enables me to get paid for my work as a writer and photographer on the blog by people who wish to support my work and make it possible. Your contributions make the blog possible, it is as simple as that.

As I mentioned, payments are voluntary. The blog is and will remain free to anyone who wishes to contribute to it. One option is a  $75 a year payment. Contributors are given two notices before the payment is renewed – one at five days and one at ten days. You can cancel before that. People may also pay either $10 a month or $5 a month.

You can also, if you wish, send your payments by mail, in any amount you choose, to my post office box: Jon Katz, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

Payments can be canceled at any time by going to your account page, the place where you signed up.

No financial information of any kind is stored on my website or server, for your protection and my sanity, I have no access to your money, I cannot start or stop payments, but it is very simple for you to do. You can also call Paypal or your credit card company and cancel payments at any time if you prefer.

The blog was started in May of 2007, and now has about four million visits a year, and approximately 400,000 unique visitors. It has grown in depth and range. Basically, it is living memoir, a new kind of continuous book. If you wish, you don’t have to pay at once like a paper book, you can pay in small chunks, like the voluntary payment program.

Your voluntary payments support the blog, and the cost of maintaining and updating it. The blog is expensive and so are my photographs, which are free. I do not watermark or copyright my pictures, they are free for you to use in any way you wish.

In addition to my picture-taking (photography is, as you know, costly) I also spent time every single day writing and researching the blog posts. The Bedlam Farm Journal is the story of a life. I share my life on the farm, my life in the small town of Cambridge, N.Y., my life with Maria, and my life as a writer.

The blog has taken on a number of projects to help good people in need. It has raised more than $150,000 in the past year or so to help farmers fend off unfair persecution, to buy welcome bags for refugee children, to help the Round House Cafe remain in our community, to help a farrier pay his bills after double knee replacements.

The subjects on the blog range widely. Every morning, the world begins anew for me.

This week, I am writing about the demise of the Ringling Brothers circus and the role the animal rights movement has had in bringing about the end of the circus. It takes a lot of time to research and write pieces like that.

I generally avoid politics, but this year, have written about my own responses to the November election. I do not follow the dogma of the left or the right, I do try to get people to think. Most of the time, people appreciate it, sometimes they do not. No one has ever canceled an automatic voluntary payment because of anything I have written, at least not to my knowledge. I am proud of that.

I do not write to be provocative, I seek to be thoughtful and helpful. I do not need to be agreed with, and don’t see the point of reading anything I never disagree with. I write extensively about dogs and animals and the issues relating to their lives. I am committed to being open about my life here on the farm, within reason. You get the good Katz or the bad Katz, depending on the day, but always, I hope, the real one.

I write what I believe, I share what I have learned. As a former journalist, I sometimes use those tools and instincts in my writing, as I did when I wrote about the New York Carriage Horses and their fight for survival.

I think the blog will be more important, useful and interesting in 2017 than in any previous year.

There will be great personal and political challenges for me. I will be writing on the blog, of course, and taking pictures. I will be doing therapy work with Red in assisted care facilities, dementia units and veteran’s health facilities, and writing about that.

I will be mentoring a family of refugees arriving nearby from the Mideast, I will be sharing that experience.

I will, of course be writing about Maria’s forthcoming trip to India to teach the victims of sex trafficking how to make potholders and other fiber art. I will be sharing the life of the farm – the dogs, donkeys, pony, chickens and barn cats – as we go through the seasons of life.

I will, of course, be sharing my own search for spirituality in my life, my lessons in health and health care, and my experiences as I begin to get old.

I think this year will be important to all of us, no matter how we voted or what our beliefs are. The blog is a monologue, everyone is comfortable, I do not permit cruelty, rage or hostility anywhere in my little empire – the blog, Facebook, etc. All are welcome, we need to learn how to talk to one another, and I think my blog is wonderful place to start.

If you believe this may be helpful, inspiring, useful or informative for you (or entertaining) please consider contributing to the voluntary payment program. It pays for the blog, which is published almost every day of the year and makes it possible. I am still an author and book writer, but that world has changed, and your support for the blog is essential in keeping it healthy and creative.

The blog is important to me, it is the centerpiece of my writing and creative life now, and I could not really maintain it in this fashion without the help of my readers. I am grateful to have it in my life, and I will always work as hard as I can to support it. So far, so good. Thanks to you.

I also believe I am entitled to be paid for my work, as I hope you are and have been. If we want good writers and artists to survive in the corporate nation, they need to be paid for their work. Thank you for reading. I think we need one another.  Details of the program are readily available on the account page.

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