by Cameryn Moore
A few weeks ago I received two pieces of bad news in the course of 24 hours. First, my fiscal sponsor for the past four years informed me that their one-person, quarter-time staff could no longer handle the load that my near-constant fundraising efforts were bringing them, and suggested that I start looking for a new sponsor as of August of this year. (They also told me that I needed to get my financial reporting practices in line with theirs tout suite!). Secondly, the liaison for my promotional sponsor and co-producer of last year’s UK tour told me that he was leaving the organization and that no one remaining there had the energy or interest in maintaining the relationship for a subsequent year; furthermore, the organization was turning its attention to more political lobbying and advocacy around sex workers’ rights in the UK, and therefore had fewer resources available for cultural outreach.
After soaking for three weeks in introspection and housing crises and planning for my summer tour—planning that must go forward, with or without the infrastructure—I realized that my situation, though unexpected and unplanned for, is neither dire nor actually problematic. I did a bit of research, and the shock has abated substantially. There are other organizations in the US that help individual artists receive donations and apply for grants, and so forth. In fact, the strongest contender that I’m looking at, that is their entire purpose, so they are not going to have staff-burnout problems over my piddling little campaigns. On the UK side of things, there are other sex worker organizations in the UK that I can talk with, and if they, too, are overstretched, it’s okay. I made lots of contacts last year, who are becoming ongoing friends and connections. They are already helping me enormously—for example, my billeting needs for a month in London are already covered--and many are already laying plans and talking to their friends, and have pledged their support for whatever they can do. So there’s that.
Because I do believe it’s time. Time to grow up and get my financials in order. Time to see if I can pull a network together, and keep it together. Time to see what I can offer my performance colleagues, and test my own precepts of generosity and sharing. Time to stop relying on gifts of fish, metaphorically speaking, and start keeping an eye out for lessons, both formal and incidental, on how to fish for my damn self.