Announcement, or a note on gratitude

Oscar, best pal/poetry companion

I’m sitting here on my couch in Minneapolis. The dog is stretched out next to me, taking up as much space for himself as he can, as he is wont to do. His chew toys are strewn about the room, and it just finished raining outside.

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. The past eight months have been very trying for me in just about every aspect of my life, but I’ve started a new practice to keep me afloat.

Every night before bed, I’ve started writing down the things from the day that have brought me joy. Some nights, it is difficult to find anything, but I still write something down. Other nights, I can’t stop writing. I think of the friend I chatted with, the drop in temperature outside, the scent left in my palms after rubbing my hands through the lavender bush I pass on my daily walks, my dog, half asleep, spreading himself out across the bed as far as he can.

Lately, thankfully, it’s been more of the latter — more lines taken up by gratitudes. And I have y’all to thank.

Before I say why that’s the case, I want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who read my most recent poem, “After contemplating suicide.” At its heart — and without me knowing it as I was writing it — I think it is a poem about gratitude. Gratitude for those small moments. Gratitude for other people. Gratitude for perseverance. Dedication. Lovingkindness.

I don’t think I’ve ever received so much incredible feedback and support after having people read my work. I’m so grateful to hear that it resonated with so many of you and that there are so many people willing to have an open dialogue about the issues it confronts.

And with that gratitude, with you and your support and kindheartedness, I have some exciting news.

A few days ago, I received an invite to become one of the first contributors to Medium’s newly launched Partner Program, and I accepted.

This comes at a very exciting time for me. I have some really exciting ideas for what this partnership will look like, and I’m stoked to be able to share this experience with y’all.

In case you haven’t heard about the Partner Program yet, here’s a little bit of info from Medium:

Your favorite authors and publications are writing their most timely, in-depth content exclusively for members. And when you upgrade, you get access to all of it.
As a member, you have unlimited access to exclusive stories from amazing writers, thinkers, and storytellers. And you can directly reward the stories that inspire, entertain, and move you.

So what does that mean, exactly?

As a member, the more you clap for my exclusive members-only work, the more financial compensation it will receive. In doing so, you allow me not only the financial capabilities to spend more time focusing on my work, but also the space to experiment and explore new forms of work, going beyond the page in order to bring you more exciting, exploratory, investigative, creative, and engaging content.

In fact, your support has already given me the time and space to have my first poem published in a printed periodical! A new poem of mine will appear in Issue 09 of Hello Mr. magazine, which hits stands September 4. Without your support, I wouldn’t have had the time or resources to work on this piece. So thank you!

I find that Medium is truly invested in forming a new economy that is more equitable for writers and their audiences through this Program, and I am glad to be in it with all of you. Of course, my members-only content will not be replacing my other work, but instead will live alongside the free content available to all Medium users. So if you’re unable to afford a Medium membership, don’t fret! I’m here to make sure this is as equitable and enjoyable an experience as it can be. :)

The dog is telling me it’s time to take him out for a walk past the lavender bushes again. Two more things to be grateful for.

Thank you again for your continued support. I look forward to growing and sharing with y’all in this new feast of gratitude, so pull up a chair and let’s dig in.

Until next time, much love,
Ben

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