How good stuff happens in the face of great challenge

Hard work continues toward recovery. This week I have regrouped from recent challenges (mentally and creatively at least), and—despite not being able to go to New York City as planned July 28 through August 5—I have:
  • Gone to work at the new part-time job I started July 3 as web assistant for the Asheville, NC, weekly newspaper Mountain Xpress.
  • Taken on a project to design and launch a new website for singer-songwriter Valorie Miller.
  • Started a project writing a website for Camp Pinewood in Hendersonville, NC.
  • Refined my collection of original photographs for sale online (although so far I've only sold one $20 print).
  • Started work on a strategic plan for resuming music performances, touring and recordings.
Anything and everything I can
The main reason I had to cancel NY was that I was unable to collect a monthly $1,500 payment from one of my biggest writing clients. This was due to a delay in my client being able to close an expected deal. So I'm doing everything and anything I can to replace that income and keep my music business and website design, writing and editing business going—and preserving the career that I have had since finishing college in 1985. (Fortunately, thanks to my former wife's family, our daughter Gracie, who had earned a full-tuition scholarship to a music theatre workshop, was able to go to NY with her mother and younger brother and continue her accomplishment and artistic growth.)

The last two years have been tumultuous, and I have communicated by email about some of these difficulties, and several of you have supported me by purchasing my recordings. Thank you! It's made a difference. I am here to earn my own way as an artist.

Replacing lost income, getting mobile again, and why I need help
To keep things going, I need—as I said above—to replace the $1,500 in lost income I have experienced unexpectedly this month. I also gave up access to a car when I left for California, and when the situation there changed I found myself without a vehicle or a way to purchase one. For a touring musician and freelance web designer, writer and editor, this makes earning a living very difficult. I have a 2006 MacBook that's working fine now, but is near the end of its useful life. Most of my belongs and equipment remain in storage in California, while I returned in late March to North Carolina to get my feet back on the ground and be near my three children because I couldn't afford frequent air travel and need to be present in their lives. These are among the reasons I've been working very hard for weeks, and why last week and part of this week I spent at least 60 hours working including 40 hours compiling my original photography from about 10,000 images and putting prints up online for sale. I also continue to have my recordings available. I believe my work will deliver a high return on investment in artistic value and entertainment for anyone who purchases it. I also know that money is tight for many people right now. Please consider doing one of the following:
  • Photography - If you can afford it, view my photography work. If you like it and feel it would enhance your home or office or make a nice gift for someone, shop online.
  • Music and book - If you can afford it and haven't purchased one or all of my recordings, have a free listen. If you like it and feel you would enjoy having my music in your collection, purchase an album or singles on download or an album on CD. Or get a copy of my audio and e-book Billy Ray's Chevrolet, a collection of photographs and writings about the Southern Appalachian experience.
  • Sharing - If you can't afford it or have purchased all the music or art that you'd like from me, please identify friends or family you think would enjoy it, share my story and recommend that they make a purchase.
  • Website design, writing and editing - If you or someone you know needs professional website design, copywriting or editing work, please have a look at and share the link with any potentially interested people or businesses.
  • Virtual tip jar - Finally, at the bottom of every page on my website is a music player that plays several of my songs for free. Have a free listen. If you enjoy it, consider clicking on the virtual tip jar button at the bottom of the window and leave a tip of any amount you choose.
Survival mode and recent mistakes
I so much appreciate everyone's support, I find it difficult to ask for it, and I have sent out some clumsy emails and posted messages online than were not advisable to say the least—but I've been in survival mode (like many others). Quite frankly I fell apart, in some ways in this day of instant communication quite publicly and foolishly. Under pressure we all make mistakes and regretful decisions. I'm in the process of moving forward now and rebuilding, righting wrongs, getting healthy, staying creative and keeping my music and art alive. If you'd like to help in a way that is commensurate with the value of my work that you will receive in return, please do so today. It'll make a huge difference for me. And don't hesitate to call on me in the future if I can help you in any way.

And as always, if you'd like to email me with what's new with you, or with your feedback, comments or suggestions, I'd love to hear from you.

All the best,

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