Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fuck Uganda

A few months ago I decided I was done being broke all the time. One of the first decisions I made? I quit my job.

I work in mysterious ways. That was not the reason for quitting, but it was one stitch in the net of reasons. Tending bar part time gave me just enough time and money to live well, but provided almost no incentive to move on.

First I thought I'd make money off my writing. Many people do, and I am in as good a position as any to start. I conceived grand adventures in travel, food, and wine.

But my commitments to my family are more important to me than (modest or immodest) fame, wealth, and travel, and when those roads diverged, I chose family. I tried to get excited about freelance writing-- but querying magazines, making contacts, hustling all the time is humbug. I'd honestly rather not have an article in Spirit than get a couple grand for one. Nothing against all the word-workers making all those magazines happen, it's just not the life for me. Plus, to spend all day every day writing or working for my writing sounds like very thin soup .

So my path towards the middle class, which is 'wealth' to me, began with quitting my job and abandoning monetary literary ambition.

Starting a restaurant and bar is the first opportunity that really feels right. Things have certainly been coming together well so far... (no evil eye, please. seriously. please.)

And this allows me to work on my prose poems, novels, plays... perfectly at peace, because I don't need them to do anything for me other than exist. This is the privilege of either the very rich or the very poor and I think the best kind of life for writers-- okay, not writers, but for Writing, the mistress we all serve.

What does all of this have to do with my apparently hostile relationship to Uganda?

Even though we have already been able to cut alot of costs, there is much more we could do with more money, and we will need to find it in other ways.

My favorite way is to steal from the Third World. Not by taking away and educating its best and brightest, nor by exploiting its resources, or even pillaging its cultural heritage, though those are all great ways to steal from the Third World, but by borrowing the idea of micro-finance.

Kiva, a website I hope most of you have heard of, allows people to make mostly small loans to people in need of them all over the world. You can help someone start a bakery, a private school, a tattoo parlor, whatever. Those seeking loans describe their projects and you can decide whether or not to lend them some cash. I do have critical things to say about the idea and its execution, but I don't even care that much about them. It's a pretty solid force for good.

So I've decided to set up an investment scheme that allows those with limited finances but genuine interest in The Green Horse to put in some money. A few hundred dollars could buy a couple sets of tables and chairs. I would not underestimate any contribution.

Naturally I'd like this to be worth the while. I'm thinking of perhaps three repayment schemes. Let's say Alot wants to invest $500 dollars. Here are the options.

In six months, The Green Horse would repay the loan entirely plus 20%. Alot walks away with his initial investment plus $100.

In a year, The Green Horse would repay the loan plus 50%. Alot trots away an extra $250.

Or, Alot might decide to make his investment more permanent and sign up for profit-sharing. If we use $1,000 as a 1% baseline, then at the end of one year, Alot is entitled to .5% of our total profit. If we only make $100,000 Alot get his initial investment back, but if, in year two, we make $400,000-- Alot reaps $2,000, and if our profit doubles the following year, so does his.

All investments come, of course, with VIP treatment at the Green Horse. Although most of them would be, I presume, friends who can expect that anyway.

Any and all comments on said scheme are very welcome. Long Live the Green Horse.


Jeremy Russell said...

Where do we sign?

WordWrestler said...

What Jeremy said. Are you going to register with Kiva or do this freestyle?

Whim said...

Thanks for the interest! I'm going to go freestyle, which is, I suppose, in line with my character. I need to research the financial/legal questions a little more. I was hoping to have a website up soon that gives more details about the restaurant to show people before I started collecting investors. Maybe I'll have something together by the end of the week?

WordWrestler said...

Right on. Keep me posted.