Summertime, when the living is easy

The drawing in progress as this update goes live.

Excuses first. How to regularize these updates and the Musings columns continues to baffle me. Whenever I think the decks are clear for work on web content, an influx of emails from friends storms the inbox. Juggling the competing responsibilities always feels like dancing barefoot on a patch of burs. Necessity doesn’t make compromise comfortable. Clearly I spend too much time daydreaming in cafés and wandering wide-eyed along streets. That isn’t likely to change. Apologies to each of you who have written recently and heard nothing back. I’ve been drawing pictures and doing other stuff.

There and back again

The second and third weeks of January found the Stikmanz touring circus in Texas. I had an annoying bug the first week, and spent just long enough in the state to pick up my usual January sinus infection. That actually manifested in all its joy the day I landed on return to Montevideo. Improvement has been slow. A change up this year is that the annual winter infection flew south on my dime to become a summer infection. Hard to say which is more uncomfortable. At least it was not another case of Covid-19, the memento of last January’s Texas visit.

Café prints

I took advantage of the trip to order prints of four of my Montevideo café drawings. There are details to work out and funding to secure before relocating that kind of production to Uruguay. Stikmantica has a long established relationship with the U.S. supplier. Costs were partly covered by robbing the tip jar funded through Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee. That income is earmarked for website expenses coming due, so hope here is that I can make up the difference before the piper must be paid. More on that below.

Because the runs were limited, unit cost was high. That impacted one aim, which was to give something back to those who support my work. As distasteful as it was to exclude anyone, I sent prints to all supporters whose total tips in 2022 exceeded what I spent to print and mail an individual set. The number allocated to supporters was also limited to make sure a sufficient stock remained to implement a second purpose, namely placing them for sale in the Montevideo cafés represented in the drawings. A few supporters were excluded by those choices. They are absolutely on the list for The Seven Jewel Bird when it is finished. I’ll offer the novelette to every supporter who has “bought me coffee” through either the Ko-fi or Buy Me a Coffee button.

The plan to offer prints for sale through the depicted cafés is underway. Café Patrimonio, Idóneo Cafe and Portal Casa y Café already have stocks of their respective prints available for purchase. Tarascón Bar has agreed to the idea, but I have yet to deliver the goods. That will happen soon. This is a means to build local presence as an artist and, we may hope, generate some income to fund a new round of prints created in Montevideo for sale in Montevideo.

The Seven Jewel Bird

Final proof of the new Stikmanz novelette is in the queue. It waits impatiently behind a new Musings column (see below). Once the final proof is done, I’ll offer an unadorned PDF of the story to Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee supporters. Stikmantica will release a fully produced e-book with original “cover” illustration later this year. That version will be available to the wide world through conventional e-book retailers. Publication date remains vague at this time because I have a couple more café drawings to finish. Watch this site for announcements.

A point to emphasize is that the novelette will be offered to every supporter without exception, but I will not automatically send it to anyone. The story is set in a near future, but like all fiction it’s really about the world right now. The plot’s bad guy is an explosive misogynist drawn as realistically as possible. In fact, he is almost an exact portrait of a former neighbor of mine. Despite the future setting—and a protagonist with talent and depth beyond anything I claim—The Seven Jewel Bird stems from autobiography. I’ll write a fuller disclaimer when the time comes. For now, suffice to say that the story may make some readers uncomfortable. Every supporter will have a chance to opt in or out.

New Musings in the works

Another story of family assembles. Better call it a story of families. I had hoped to finish it and post before February arrived. Uncooperative January had other ideas. Among them count a sinus infection and a major plumbing emergency. Also in the mix is a biological wrong turn that makes two weeks away from home more physically taxing than in younger years. Nonetheless, the column is well started. The Seven Jewel Bird waits behind it, and has already waited too long. Look for “Et in Acadia ego” to see light soon.

Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee

These direct payment platforms have thrown a lifeline to Stikmantica. Tips received have made it possible to cover website and publication fees without raiding the lunch money. Slowly, dollars for more expensive, looming renewals gets tucked into the mattress. Survival of Stikmantica is not assured, but no longer looks impossible. Every contribution moves assurance closer. Every contribution is deeply appreciated.

Figuring out how best to use the platforms continues. One change since the last update is that it is now possible on both Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee to set up a regular monthly payment. Even a small band of monthly supporters will make a world of difference.

How to give back to supporters is also still in trial-and-error mode. The “no tit for tat” method of supporting creative process and its content is very different than setting a price and selling a book. Materializing a little of the process as samples for supporters of what they underwrite just seems called for. Barring a wave of prosperity that sweeps away limitation, physical gifts for supporters require minimum contribution thresholds in order to keep the bottom line positive. An attraction of sharing content like a PDF or e-book is that the thresholds can be purely emotional and thus more inclusive. Please use one of the buttons to leave a tip. That will push the thinking further.

Wishing you peace, love, justice & comfortable shoes!