Like many entrepreneurs, start-uppers, project initiators, and believers in the impossible, when launching my One Up project to write and release one inspiring song a month for 2010, I knew that the money to make it happen would come. I had no idea it was going to come from Iraq.
On my One Up webpage, there’s a big red button to donate to the project to help cover costs of producing the songs, in return for some fan perks like t-shirts, singing on a tune, a private house concert, etc etc. For the month of January, as my e-mail program dinged with alerts from PayPal that another fan had donated a few dollars, my heart would swell with gratitude. Last week, however, I thought it was going to explode when I got notification that a US Military Sergeant (with a mailing address that includes “Troop” and “Calvary”) nearly tripled the amount of money I had raised this year with a single donation. His note in the line labeled “Donation Purpose” read “Sh!ts and giggles.”
Luckily, PayPal gathered his email address for me and I was able to write him a sincere thank you. His light-hearted response to my thanks was that he was compensating “for all those high school days of downloading pirated songs on Napster”. Plus he said he can now call himself a “Patron of the Arts”. He politely declined the dinner certificate and free house concert that you get as part of the Thank You gifts, seeing as he will be in Iraq for the entire year. (Heart swell.) When I looked him up on Facebook, the status of this guy, who looks my age and is from a town not too far from me, read “needs a new job… another day, another incident, another buddy headed home.” (More swelling.)
I’m still trying to make sense of this, of war, of the disaster in Haiti, trying not to look at it as a tragedy though it is, and I’m trying to keep on giving. Make a donation to Haiti relief funds, then opt in at the grocery store to add a dollar to my bill to help a little more. The sympathy and the overwhelming heart swells, plus the guilt of living freely in a safe environment under my own command makes me do it. And I know it’s not nearly enough. Is it even helping?
That’s all I wanted to let my Sergeant friend know- that he is helping make things possible for a little musician back in the states that wouldn’t have been possible before. And yet he thanks me for giving fans an opportunity to interact, and for my music. Well, in that case, Sh!ts and Giggles work for me. My inspiration-meter is wonderfully in the red.
With each cent that rolls in for this project, I am more and more humbled, grateful, and motivated. I am so lucky that I am able to capture this generosity and encouragement and turn it into something audibly tangible. I hope you hear it in the next song, for it will most certainly be there for me.