J. W. Spina

is creating immersive theatre, writing wordy things, & telling stories.

16

patrons
I am actually going to give you the "Too long, don't feel like reading" version of things first:

Money makes things easier. Including a life in the arts. It is a vehicle for change and energy wielded. 

I've got some big plans and aspirations moving forward on my artistic journey. If you have enjoyed any aspect of knowing/seeing me in an artistic capacity up to this point and would like to support my personal growth & professional projects your monthly contribution would mean more than I can say.

(And I can say a lot, just consider the following...)

Recently I posted the following question on social media:

I am curious to hear others thoughts on this...

I feel like there are generally two narratives that creatives hear about a livelihood in their chosen art.

1) Do not put the pressure of making a living on your art. Find a job that takes care of the money side of things. Make art in the spaces in-between. If there are not many of those, try finding a job that gives you more. Until you are wildly, undeniably, successful do not put that pressure on yourself or your art.

2) Give yourself no other option. Commit yourself fully to your dharma/calling and live it full out. Usually followed by something of the 'leap and the net will appear" or "the universe responds". Sometimes followed up with the sentiment that it is better to try to win and to fail than to simply try and not lose.

So what do you think about this?
What's been your experience?
Where do you land?

As should probably have not been so surprising the answers ran the spectrum. Some were planted firmly on one side or the other, while others spoke of hybrid sort of living. Others expressed a wish that they had tried the latter before, but were now firmly planted in the former; though they felt good in that. All answers were thoughtful and all seemed equally valid.

Each person sacrificed something whatever way they swung, it is worth noting.

This line of questioning was brought about, in part, by a seeming unwillingness to acknowledge where I currently am, or where I've been, and stubbornly focus on all that I am and have "not". All that feels out of reach. 

Mostly to my own detriment I’m afraid that the nature of my mind is such that I find myself hyper-fixated on where I’ve yet to go; the expanse between where I sense myself to be and where I oft imagine I will finally feel "okay", "real", or "successful"; The Mountaintop. This is flawed (I know) but not entirely without merit, I think. 

It's a curious thing... I can both acknowledge that I've made substantial progress and yet feel like the distance to that point never shrinks. 

Those two things surely must be incongruous. 

Right?

I have toyed with the idea of launching a Patreon (or similar) page for some years now. It has always existed as a “Once I…” scenario. I imagined I would get to this point where I would feel valid enough to ask. Where I would feel comfortable asking. Where I could point to some external marker of success and say “See, I’m only asking because I’ve earned the right to ask; THEY said it was okay.”

Having moved back to New York; marking a profound shift internally and externally, and taking the time to look back on all that has come before now, I can finally acknowledge that there are enough people out there in this world whom I think I have had a positive impact upon as a direct relation to my pursuit to make art.

Whether I made them laugh at an improv show.

Whether something I wrote resonated with them on a heart level.

Whether a piece I did made them think, or laugh, or cry, or rage, or have an emotional reaction they did not know they were going to experience before they felt it.

Whether I was a pleasure to work with, or at least not a nightmare.

Whether I just told them about an idea and they realized they would like to see it made manifest.

Whatever the whether... I think there are a fair number of you out there. 

Furthermore, I figure that if even a microscopic portion of them felt that the embers of my previous artistic endeavors were worth a dollar of firewood a month, we could still build a substantial fire. 

I just want to start.
Now.

My fire's burning and I will keep that flame alive at all costs.

But with your help I can grow it quicker than I could purely on my own.

At the end of a long day where I haven't sleep enough, had to give the best of my hours & self to obligations that are far from my artistic alignment, and question for the thousand-thousandth time whether this is really all worth it... to return to even the smallest of hearths where I can warm my dry-cracked hands would be a thing of profound joy & comfort, of deep refuge & shelter, of luscious regeneration. 

I am in it for the long haul.

Currently I am working two jobs, with one set to expire in a few weeks. Before that happens, and before I solidify its replacement, I am curious just to see what happens. Just to see if I can make a dent, or work slightly fewer hours, thanks to my community.

I lived in the city before, I knew what to expect, but even I have been surprised how quickly my resources have gone. How rapidly my mental, physical, and emotional bandwidth slow to a crawl. It's slowed the fulfillment of my "next big thing" which I know many of you have heard me talk about for months now. Any extra time that a Patreon affords me to work on bringing that show to completion would be wondrous. 

Which, this may be as good a time as any to tell you that I've been working on this show called "The Forget Me Trunk" which is set to be a roving, intimate (limited to just four audience members per show), immersive theatre piece exploring what it means to be a deeply impermanent human-being. 
[Side note: After writing that, I find myself wondering if I am the only one who finds it nigh impossible to write an artistic summary without feeling w i l d l y pretentious? I digress...]

Look,

I don't rightly know if there is a final mountaintop. But I do know that there is at least one peak, where a life is built and supported by art. The climb to the summit may take many more years yet. Here, at basecamp (which was a journey all its own) things are as safe as they are going to be, but they're not why we came here.

I've made money from my art and I've lost it. Sometimes the latter was the more rewarding. 

The two concepts are neither intertwined, nor at odds. Symbiotic, perhaps.

The pursuit of either can be a noble one. The pursuit of both in one requires magnitudes more luck, tenacity, & talent than either on their own. 

There is only so much of that, that is in my hands or my control. 

But the first step, that is mine.  

So, today I leave, one step at a time.

But it's cold up there on the mountainside. Which is why I carry this flame. 

If you would like to be a spectre on the mountainside and meet me once a month when the sky grows dark, we can gather round the campfire we've built together– my spark and your fuel –and we can revel in each others company.

In this mutual gratitude. 
Tiers
Seed
$1 or more per month

Taking the idea of seed money literally; the barest, the most essential, the promise from which all the rest grows. You are planting yourself here and I cannot believe it. 


You'll get access to all the Patreon only posts, notices, and the various nonsense. This is going to be my defacto bulletin board; the flower bed for any ideas. Any public announcements/offers will be posted here before any of my other media channels.

Sun
$3 or more per month

Look, I am far from an "influencer" (thank the gods, right?) BUT I want to acknowledge what a spectacular thing you've done pledging 3 dollars or more every month, and so please let me shed some light on you out there in the social media solar system. 


Choice is yours between a mention on Facebook or as part of an Instagram story/caption. That's really the extent of where I live these days.


For tiers over $20 I would love to share your photo, or a suitable image of your choosing, in black and white. 


For Patrons in the uppermost tiers, over $70, I would love to share a special color photo. Please feel free to check out my Instagram feed to see the color scheme I've got going on and what I'm referring to. 


At every level, in addition to expressing my gratitude I am happy to plug and promote certain projects you may be working on/with. 

Soil
$5 or more per month

Paydirt! Five bucks is a serious commitment. To the point that I feel compelled to immediately give some of it back in the form of discount codes to anything I am involved in for which such codes exist. Guaranteed for anything I produce, including The Forget Me Trunk.  


+everything that comes before

Water
$7 or more per month

Drink up! If we are in the same geographic location at any point I will buy you a beer, coffee, cocktail, etc. and we can talk about w•h•a•t•e•v•e•r. You also have the option for me to brew/mix/concoct said beverage for you. This may be a group Patreon outing. 


+previous rewards

Sprout
$13 or more per month

Oh, things are growing now! I will "shoot" you personalized letters/postcards AT LEAST bi-monthly (erry two months)


+previous jazz

Leaf
$19 or more per month

Every few months I will send you a

m y s t e r y b o x (tempting, right?)

which could contain anything; art, trinkets, food, something of personal significance to me. A thing or things I genuinely think you will enjoy.


+all that comes before

Buds
$29 or more per month

4 hours of Me. I'll help you however I (legally) can. Coach your improv team, assist with your rehearsal or auditions, help memorize lines, consult on your project, self tape, heck I will even mow your lawn or walk your dog. Delivery subject to my schedule/location after 3 months at this level.


+all that goodness from before

Flower
$51 or more per month

Access to the book club. Every month I will buy and send you a book in the format of your choice and we'll read it in tandem. We'll have a group meetup either in person or through a web chat.


+all the above

Pollinator
$71 or more per month

Wow... just wow.


Way to Bee!


Here I will, from time to time, hook you up with goodies, discounts, tickets and such from my friends & peers. Shakespeare one time, an off the rails sketch show the next. Photography, music,  writings; anything is fair game. 


+every reward before this one

Garden
$101 or more per month

You have got to be kidding me?


For this monthly pledge, I will– at some point –drive to where you are in order to give you and three friends (the show is built for just 4 audience members at a time) a private showing of The Forget Me Trunk. Can also be redeemed for a full private show at one of my NYC locations OR on the (fingers crossed) eventual tour. 


+And of course, you'll be invited to the bookclub, get the goods from my friends, the packages and letters; everything I currently have to give, 

I am actually going to give you the "Too long, don't feel like reading" version of things first:

Money makes things easier. Including a life in the arts. It is a vehicle for change and energy wielded. 

I've got some big plans and aspirations moving forward on my artistic journey. If you have enjoyed any aspect of knowing/seeing me in an artistic capacity up to this point and would like to support my personal growth & professional projects your monthly contribution would mean more than I can say.

(And I can say a lot, just consider the following...)

Recently I posted the following question on social media:

I am curious to hear others thoughts on this...

I feel like there are generally two narratives that creatives hear about a livelihood in their chosen art.

1) Do not put the pressure of making a living on your art. Find a job that takes care of the money side of things. Make art in the spaces in-between. If there are not many of those, try finding a job that gives you more. Until you are wildly, undeniably, successful do not put that pressure on yourself or your art.

2) Give yourself no other option. Commit yourself fully to your dharma/calling and live it full out. Usually followed by something of the 'leap and the net will appear" or "the universe responds". Sometimes followed up with the sentiment that it is better to try to win and to fail than to simply try and not lose.

So what do you think about this?
What's been your experience?
Where do you land?

As should probably have not been so surprising the answers ran the spectrum. Some were planted firmly on one side or the other, while others spoke of hybrid sort of living. Others expressed a wish that they had tried the latter before, but were now firmly planted in the former; though they felt good in that. All answers were thoughtful and all seemed equally valid.

Each person sacrificed something whatever way they swung, it is worth noting.

This line of questioning was brought about, in part, by a seeming unwillingness to acknowledge where I currently am, or where I've been, and stubbornly focus on all that I am and have "not". All that feels out of reach. 

Mostly to my own detriment I’m afraid that the nature of my mind is such that I find myself hyper-fixated on where I’ve yet to go; the expanse between where I sense myself to be and where I oft imagine I will finally feel "okay", "real", or "successful"; The Mountaintop. This is flawed (I know) but not entirely without merit, I think. 

It's a curious thing... I can both acknowledge that I've made substantial progress and yet feel like the distance to that point never shrinks. 

Those two things surely must be incongruous. 

Right?

I have toyed with the idea of launching a Patreon (or similar) page for some years now. It has always existed as a “Once I…” scenario. I imagined I would get to this point where I would feel valid enough to ask. Where I would feel comfortable asking. Where I could point to some external marker of success and say “See, I’m only asking because I’ve earned the right to ask; THEY said it was okay.”

Having moved back to New York; marking a profound shift internally and externally, and taking the time to look back on all that has come before now, I can finally acknowledge that there are enough people out there in this world whom I think I have had a positive impact upon as a direct relation to my pursuit to make art.

Whether I made them laugh at an improv show.

Whether something I wrote resonated with them on a heart level.

Whether a piece I did made them think, or laugh, or cry, or rage, or have an emotional reaction they did not know they were going to experience before they felt it.

Whether I was a pleasure to work with, or at least not a nightmare.

Whether I just told them about an idea and they realized they would like to see it made manifest.

Whatever the whether... I think there are a fair number of you out there. 

Furthermore, I figure that if even a microscopic portion of them felt that the embers of my previous artistic endeavors were worth a dollar of firewood a month, we could still build a substantial fire. 

I just want to start.
Now.

My fire's burning and I will keep that flame alive at all costs.

But with your help I can grow it quicker than I could purely on my own.

At the end of a long day where I haven't sleep enough, had to give the best of my hours & self to obligations that are far from my artistic alignment, and question for the thousand-thousandth time whether this is really all worth it... to return to even the smallest of hearths where I can warm my dry-cracked hands would be a thing of profound joy & comfort, of deep refuge & shelter, of luscious regeneration. 

I am in it for the long haul.

Currently I am working two jobs, with one set to expire in a few weeks. Before that happens, and before I solidify its replacement, I am curious just to see what happens. Just to see if I can make a dent, or work slightly fewer hours, thanks to my community.

I lived in the city before, I knew what to expect, but even I have been surprised how quickly my resources have gone. How rapidly my mental, physical, and emotional bandwidth slow to a crawl. It's slowed the fulfillment of my "next big thing" which I know many of you have heard me talk about for months now. Any extra time that a Patreon affords me to work on bringing that show to completion would be wondrous. 

Which, this may be as good a time as any to tell you that I've been working on this show called "The Forget Me Trunk" which is set to be a roving, intimate (limited to just four audience members per show), immersive theatre piece exploring what it means to be a deeply impermanent human-being. 
[Side note: After writing that, I find myself wondering if I am the only one who finds it nigh impossible to write an artistic summary without feeling w i l d l y pretentious? I digress...]

Look,

I don't rightly know if there is a final mountaintop. But I do know that there is at least one peak, where a life is built and supported by art. The climb to the summit may take many more years yet. Here, at basecamp (which was a journey all its own) things are as safe as they are going to be, but they're not why we came here.

I've made money from my art and I've lost it. Sometimes the latter was the more rewarding. 

The two concepts are neither intertwined, nor at odds. Symbiotic, perhaps.

The pursuit of either can be a noble one. The pursuit of both in one requires magnitudes more luck, tenacity, & talent than either on their own. 

There is only so much of that, that is in my hands or my control. 

But the first step, that is mine.  

So, today I leave, one step at a time.

But it's cold up there on the mountainside. Which is why I carry this flame. 

If you would like to be a spectre on the mountainside and meet me once a month when the sky grows dark, we can gather round the campfire we've built together– my spark and your fuel –and we can revel in each others company.

In this mutual gratitude. 

Recent posts by J. W. Spina

Tiers
Seed
$1 or more per month

Taking the idea of seed money literally; the barest, the most essential, the promise from which all the rest grows. You are planting yourself here and I cannot believe it. 


You'll get access to all the Patreon only posts, notices, and the various nonsense. This is going to be my defacto bulletin board; the flower bed for any ideas. Any public announcements/offers will be posted here before any of my other media channels.

Sun
$3 or more per month

Look, I am far from an "influencer" (thank the gods, right?) BUT I want to acknowledge what a spectacular thing you've done pledging 3 dollars or more every month, and so please let me shed some light on you out there in the social media solar system. 


Choice is yours between a mention on Facebook or as part of an Instagram story/caption. That's really the extent of where I live these days.


For tiers over $20 I would love to share your photo, or a suitable image of your choosing, in black and white. 


For Patrons in the uppermost tiers, over $70, I would love to share a special color photo. Please feel free to check out my Instagram feed to see the color scheme I've got going on and what I'm referring to. 


At every level, in addition to expressing my gratitude I am happy to plug and promote certain projects you may be working on/with. 

Soil
$5 or more per month

Paydirt! Five bucks is a serious commitment. To the point that I feel compelled to immediately give some of it back in the form of discount codes to anything I am involved in for which such codes exist. Guaranteed for anything I produce, including The Forget Me Trunk.  


+everything that comes before

Water
$7 or more per month

Drink up! If we are in the same geographic location at any point I will buy you a beer, coffee, cocktail, etc. and we can talk about w•h•a•t•e•v•e•r. You also have the option for me to brew/mix/concoct said beverage for you. This may be a group Patreon outing. 


+previous rewards

Sprout
$13 or more per month

Oh, things are growing now! I will "shoot" you personalized letters/postcards AT LEAST bi-monthly (erry two months)


+previous jazz

Leaf
$19 or more per month

Every few months I will send you a

m y s t e r y b o x (tempting, right?)

which could contain anything; art, trinkets, food, something of personal significance to me. A thing or things I genuinely think you will enjoy.


+all that comes before

Buds
$29 or more per month

4 hours of Me. I'll help you however I (legally) can. Coach your improv team, assist with your rehearsal or auditions, help memorize lines, consult on your project, self tape, heck I will even mow your lawn or walk your dog. Delivery subject to my schedule/location after 3 months at this level.


+all that goodness from before

Flower
$51 or more per month

Access to the book club. Every month I will buy and send you a book in the format of your choice and we'll read it in tandem. We'll have a group meetup either in person or through a web chat.


+all the above

Pollinator
$71 or more per month

Wow... just wow.


Way to Bee!


Here I will, from time to time, hook you up with goodies, discounts, tickets and such from my friends & peers. Shakespeare one time, an off the rails sketch show the next. Photography, music,  writings; anything is fair game. 


+every reward before this one

Garden
$101 or more per month

You have got to be kidding me?


For this monthly pledge, I will– at some point –drive to where you are in order to give you and three friends (the show is built for just 4 audience members at a time) a private showing of The Forget Me Trunk. Can also be redeemed for a full private show at one of my NYC locations OR on the (fingers crossed) eventual tour. 


+And of course, you'll be invited to the bookclub, get the goods from my friends, the packages and letters; everything I currently have to give,