A post is circulating on social media about a famous composer’s funding. I wanted to share it here and talk about the implications for myself and other writers and artists. Here is a screenshot of the tumblr post, with the text of the post below it.
Text of post:
TIL Tchaikovsky had a patron who gave him enough money to quit his job and become a full-time composer, on the condition that they never meet in person.
this is the sexiest thing I’ve ever read in my life ever
Tchaikovsky’s fortunes changed in 1877 when he gained the emotional and financial support of wealthy patron Nadezhda Von Meck. The generous annual stipend of 6000 roubles she gave him about 20x what he would have made as a civil servant – enabled him to quit his job with the Conservatory and become Russia’s first full-time, professional composer.
While the composer and his patron exchanged more than 1,200 deeply personal letters in the course of 13 years (that’s nearly two a week), they met only once accidentally and awkwardly-and they never spoke a word to each other. Von Meck stipulated that she never wanted to meet as a condition of her patronage, and the socially awkward Tchaikovsky was more than happy to comply.
this woman really went “you’re a neurotic twink with no social skills but your music slaps so here’s a shit ton of money never look at me goodbye”
The most common response I saw to this post was “wow, I wish I could get someone to pay me to create,” and I felt extremely lucky to realize that I have 90 people collaborating to provide me with the opportunity to spend my time creating. Creating a Patreon six years ago was one of the best decisions I ever made, and it has slowly grown. Now it pays the rent and some bills, meaning I have to improvise to cover my needs far less than I used to.
Since my last post, many of you have sent encouraging notes with gifts, and I am so grateful for all of your thoughtful kindness.
I’m so glad that I have this opportunity, and that supporting an artist is so accessible now. I am not supported singlehandedly by one person with a great deal of funds to spare, but by a whole crowd of people who contribute whatever they can. If that’s a dollar a month, I still want to work to earn that dollar with content. So for those who are supporting me on Patreon, I’m sharing paintings, snippets from the book draft, and updates. I’ve been dividing up my writing time between platforms, and trying to focus on the book as much as I possibly can.
I find it incredible that Tchaikovsky had a sponsor, too, and that I’m in the position to have help and support from a whole collection of people. After years of trying to make it work with housing, it’s astounding to be in an apartment and to know where the rent is coming from.
Thank you all for your support. It means I am free to create, and I am creating earnestly.