It finally happened. The end of a quarter of the year. The first report of sales for Kettle Pot Cup are in. Nice to see. That also means the first donation is on its way. Donating money in an interconnected world is welcome, and necessary. Here’s a bit of what I learned, and here’s a bit of serendipity.
My post Kettle Pot Cup Launched introduced how this book happened, but the subsequent post Authors Always Have More Work To Do can be better because it includes the video of the talk I was able to give at Langley Library. And thank you to Friends Of Langley Library for the opportunity.
For the short, but hopefully not too short description; thanks to the internet and social media, and to my time as a stockholder of Starbucks (SBUX) I became aware of the working conditions of the people who actually grow such simple luxuries as tea and coffee. Starbucks impressed me with what they initiated for coffee growers almost two decades ago. I lost track when I was no longer a stockholder (separate story). Tea pickers have a similar life, and yet not.
Tea production can be automated, but you can also get cheap coffee from a machine yet people pay a lot of money to get a barista to do their work. In short, tea is picked by hand. Imagine that. Imagine walking out into rows of bushes stretching across acres and daily picking fresh leaves from the plants. The highest end teas are even more restricted because, as I understand it, the leaves are only picked when the fluids in the plants have risen far enough after dawn and before they retreat (from the heat?). In some places the tea pickers are migrant farm workers without the ability to migrate, which also means that are somewhat trapped in their situation. From one report they are paid about a third of a living wage.
What could I do?
Contrary to the stereotype, being a realtor is not a guaranteed path to impressive income. If my clients are out-bid they don’t get the house and I don’t get paid. It has been lean. (Required Disclosure: I’m a broker at Dalton Realty, Inc. http://whidbeyrealtor.com/). I could buy tea because tea can be a frugal person’s friend, but little of that money could get to the growers.
What could I do?
I can write. It is up to you to decide if I write well enough or not, but I know I can produce a book that some will find enjoyable; and I can do so rather expediently. So, I decided to write a book, have fun with it, and seriously donate the book proceeds to charities that support tea growers and pickers.
Kettle Pot Cup was born.
In early 2022 Kettle Pot Cup was also published, printed, put online for sale, and made available across much of the glove. Really rather cool when you think about it. (BTW I’ll be co-hosting a self-publishing workshop with Don Scoby on October 15, 2022.)
The end of September was a convenient time to write the first check. Great. Sounds easy, right? Well…
Tea may be more popular than coffee (really, it is, globally) but there are fewer charities than I expected. The majority request payment in Pounds, not Dollars. A vestige of the British Empire. Many of them are directed at government and corporate donations, possibly because that’s where the money is. As a result, the web sites are more likely to be informative than to provide information about how to donate. It gets tricky.
But, after opening dozens of browser tabs, steering around ads, cookie windows, and intriguing web navigations, I finally found an appropriate site.
Thanks to everyone who purchased a book and therefore made a donation. Let’s give more.
And then the serendipity kicks in.
After giving my computer time enough to open those tabs I returned to open my email. There was a long-anticipated and finally-received email inviting me to hold a talk in an energetic bookstore. Stay tuned. I’m looking forward to it and will pass along details when available. (Check @tetrimbath on Twitter.)
And then, while in my living room I noticed the mail truck backing up my driveway. Today’s delivery? The next batch of copies of Kettle Pot Cup, just in time as if timed.
Just a few days ago I was thanking a friend who helps me get through some of the toughest days. No obligation. No thank-you gifts means No Thank You Gifts, because frugal folks don’t like waste and clutter; and heart-felt thanks are rarer and more valuable. Anyway, we talked about how sometimes we help others with obvious acts (thanks for the ride to the doctor’s office, et al), and we sometimes help without knowing it because we smiled or encouraged someone or gave away some excess harvest that wasn’t even zucchini.
I try to help, but it is hard to know, especially in today’s frantic work world. I hope I help, and I do what I can. So, here’s yet another link to Kettle Pot Cup. Note that, if you buy it through Lulu.com it results in a roughly $15 donation, but bought through Amazon results in a $1 donation. Where those $14 go I do not know.
The book is hardback, purposely so it make a nicer gift, and also makes it easier to ship.
Now to see what serendipity it provides to any of us who become associated with it. Maybe just a gift. Maybe some awareness. Maybe someone can nominate an appropriate charity and decide to skip the book and donate much more than $15. Who knows? I certainly don’t. All I know is that I wrote a book – and enjoy tea.