As the year wheels slowly to a close, I am distracted and repelled by the frantic pleading coming into my email inbox…it seems that every nonprofit and political organization I have ever expressed the least interest in is desperately vying for a few pennies from my ever-shrinking purse.
I too have been fundraising these last few months, trying to raise enough money to sustain the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, which I founded on a shoe-string and a dream three years ago. The more successful it becomes, the more time it takes to organize, and the more money is required to keep the wheels turning.
I certainly understand the need to seek funds to support these worthy endeavors, and yet I find myself wishing there was some other way.
Wouldn’t it be a better use of my time, talents and energy to focus on creating the vibrant programs the Festival is known for, rather than constantly having to cast about for financial support?
And what is true for me must be true for the organizers of all these causes that are flooding my inbox with urgent last-minute appeals for funding.
This New Year’s Eve, let me pause to envision a social landscape in which people are encouraged to do what they’re best at doing—whether it’s planting a tree or building a house or writing a poem—without having to worry about whether or not they will be paid in cash for their labor.
What if good ideas could just grow vigorously like weeds in the warm, pungent, nurturing earth of collective human society?
What if instead of all fighting amongst each other to be heard and rewarded for our cleverness, sex appeal and charm, we worked graciously together to create the vast interlocking human machine of collective creative endeavor, each of us contributing the pieces we do best and knowing we’ll be fairly rewarded for work done well?
What if instead of working for dollars and cents, we worked for goods and services that we needed, on a barter system to which everyone could contribute and rely on?
I know this is a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, but on this night, when the Earth wheels around the Sun into a brand new calendar year, I want to allow myself to dream big—to imagine that the impossible could come true.
What a beautiful world it would be.
Happy New Year everyone!