Discover more from Entwine
Outside the bar
and inside the stories
There’s a late night poetry show at a punk bar that I'm an old regular at, where the house band always plays this one song mid-show. It goes like,
🎵 put the money 🎵 in the bucket 🎵
all 💃 night 🕺 long
It gets stuck in your head. When the nights are long and warm, we do the show outside in the parking lot and whoever's got the bucket dances among the audience. It's a fun way to contribute and get the musicians, the crew, and the guest artist(s) paid for the night, pass-the-hat communal support style.
The show is otherwise free; it recognizes the importance of both paying living artists and giving the community access to art without barriers like high venue/ticket prices, and finds a balance everyone can participate in without pressure or question.
Outside another bar up the coast, with poetry bleeding through the courtyard doors, I think I offended someone who was trying to give me a compliment. We were talking about writing, my last poetry book, and I handed them a copy. Under no circumstances did they want to take it for free; art is emotional labor, and artists should be able to live off their work. Don't worry about it I said; I even have little bookmarks inside that say, Take me, I’m yours. What they said took a few days to fully settle. Some conversations go right over my head.
This space is a middle ground
Substack is a subscription platform for writers, that allows me to tuck some of my stories behind a paywall. Not all of them, but some for those that want to contribute.
I suspect much like a writing teacher once said about registration fees, and the person outside the north shore bar was probably trying to say; when you put money towards something you focus your attention there. No matter how small, you’ve chosen to acknowledge that it is important to you.
Call this my attempt to pass the hat as both the artist on stage and the crew running the show, to offer what is important to me in a way which you can say the same, to apologize for ever implying I take any of this for granted or without the need of reader support.
it’s also about community
Subscribers have access to the comment sections and a chat room where we can talk about writing and art. Here's my hope in an age of exploitative viral soundbites and shrinking attention spans it's possible to create my own little online niche space that reflects the poetry shows I attend and dive bars I drag all my writing friends into after workshop.
I hope you'll stick around for more than one round.
*Posts will start publishing in 2024. Until then, subscriptions are not yet turned on for billing. You can ‘Pledge’ an ammount you want to sign up for ahead of when that is turned on if so desired.