I have an awesome friend, Inez, who’s an itinerant writer (I posted about our trip to see her in Amsterdam here). A few years ago, she packed up her flat in Queensland, put all her stuff in storage, and went off round the world, from residency to residency, from city to city, in Spain and France and the Netherlands and India and the USA. I really loved that she did that, just set off into the world in her fifties, trusting in her own resources and in the existence of a worldwide commonwealth of writers and their supporters: people who believe that the work she does, the work of the imagination, is important.
Eventually the residencies ran out, and she came back to Australia. She’s found a place in Melbourne, and hired movers to bring her stuff out of storage and down from Queensland. All the stuff that didn’t fit into the 20kg of cabin baggage she was allowed to carry round the world for the last couple of years: clothes, books, notebooks, journals, pictures, furniture. Practical things, beautiful things, memories.
Then the moving truck caught fire. And the movers hadn’t told her that it was her responsibility to ensure the stuff in transit.
She’s going through the boxes to see what’s survived at the moment, and tells J that most of her most personal things are okay, thankfully, but she’s still lost an awful lot of things which will have to be replaced.
I know that (if there’s some sort of objective scale of badness) there are a lot of things in the world which are worse and which deserve your money more, but NONETHELESS I’ve set up a PayPal donate button on this post, and I would be really delighted if some of you felt moved to give even a pound or a dollar or two to Inez. I know some of you are writers and/or freelancers, so you understand the precariousness of freelance finances and the value of the kind of work Inez does. Some of you have experience of moving countries, so you know how intransigent stuff is even at the best of times, and how much work it takes to settle into new places, even when all your stuff hasn’t caught fire. And finally, lots of you, I think, know about being supported primarily by worldwide friendship networks, rather than local family ones. I’d really like to show Inez that the blogosphere can be of some practical help; that you don’t need to have sacrificed everything for your family and stayed in Bedrock Falls all your life with your wife and kids, like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life (link goes to five-minute YouTube video of the ending of the movie), for people to rally round in times of trouble.
If enough people repost this, and enough people give even a pound or a dollar or two, and we can afford to give Inez enough even to replace her bed – even to replace her bedding – then she’ll always have something to remind her that there are people across the world, friends and strangers, who feel connected to her, who want to support the way she writes, the way she lives. Honourably and bravely.
[Oh – PS: just to say, I’ll cover any fees that PayPal charges, so don’t worry about that.]
[And oh! ETA2: It’s Bedford Falls, not Bedrock Falls. I was mixing feckless/self-sacrificing George Bailey up with the much more thrifty, nine-to-five job, two-point-four kids, er, Fred Flintstone.]