A Year of Gratitude: We Are Still Here

Posted by Eric Francis

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Among the many thank-yous I have to offer, one stands out prominently: Planet Waves is still here. Earlier this year, after a major website overhaul and making many other improvements and after seven consecutive years of growth, Planet Waves encountered some financial trouble.

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Dear Planet Waves Reader:

Among the many thank-yous I have to offer, one stands out prominently: Planet Waves is still here. Earlier this year, after a major website overhaul and making many other improvements and after seven consecutive years of growth, Planet Waves encountered some financial trouble.

With my new American-made G&L bass — an authentic work of musical art. I am writing Vision Quest in this office, which is next to the music studio.

I sent a letter to my readers called The Art of Asking. And many of you responded. Seeing the urgency of our situation and feeling as strongly as they did, a number of readers made donations of up to $1000 to keep us going.

You know who you are — but I want everyone else to know that thanks to you, we pulled through. It was a squeak and a stretch but we did it. The generosity of many of my readers and listeners made that possible. Thank you.

Here is why. Every time I sit down in front of my monitor or in front of the microphone to connect with you, I am grateful to have this space to offer what I consider to be a sane, compassionate viewpoint on what seems, at the moment, to be an increasingly insane world.

I have the skill and experience to walk into any mainstream media outlet and get to work; if I did, we both know that I could not speak to you the way I do, about the things that I do.

Planet Waves brings to our reportage of the world the very things that most other places ban outright — such as actual meaning. The human context. The connection to your evolving worldview.

With Planet Waves, the medium is very much the message. I do what I can to hold the door open for other writers, artists, broadcasters and musicians to be able to offer something humane and sensitive as well. That is what we do.

And this is fragile — that is, “content” not being filler padded around drug and car ads. What that means is, we get to be real, and we get to be direct with you; that means vulnerable. I want to thank the people who appreciate our work and who recognized that vulnerability and who came through — so that everyone else can have Planet Waves.

As you may know, Planet Waves FM was recently accepted as an affiliate of Pacifica Radio. We are now considered a community internet radio station. In a discussion with one of their producers negotiating this, I said that we were 100% reader and listener supported: no corporate underwriting, no venture capital (so far), no commercials, no government or private grants.

“That’s incredible,” he said.

Cosmophilia Aquarius glyph by Lizanne Webb — who is Aquarius through and through (ok, Taurus rising!)

That would be you. Thank you. To everyone who sent in checks, large and small, knowing that sending that much money really was about everyone else, everyone else they want to benefit from Planet Waves — thank you for your focus, time and love.

To everyone who stepped up and joined our Core Community, thank you.

There are number of beautiful people who co-create Planet Waves right where you can see them, answering your calls, writing articles, keeping the website running — Amanda Painter, Amy Elliott and Anatoly Ryzhenko among them; our many writers, including Fe Bongolan, Judith Gayle, Amanda Moreno and Len Wallick; our Paris-based photographer Danielle Voirin; to those working behind the scenes, Whitney Beecroft, Ambar Garcia, Jessica Keet and others — thank you.

Daniel Sternstein has become one of the most positive influences in my life, teaching me guitar and bass one sound and one idea at a time. Dan is my co-writer on most of the music you hear with your readings.

It would be easy for me to have a blog. That would be lonely, and not nearly as excellent. What you get for your donations and subscription fees is a team — of people who know how to write, research, fact-check, proofread and read an astrology chart. With original music and artwork every time we come out with something new. Original music with every astrology reading! That is lavish.

Speaking of art — Lizanne Webb, my friend and colleague since 1983, has donated two years of her work, creating all that incredible branding you see everywhere (Mars Effect, Cosmophilia, Vision Quest, Astrology for Artists — all of it). Liz — thank you for such amazing work, offered so generously.

To Andrew McLuhan, my friend, sounding board and advisor through many of these changes, thank you.

This is what it feels like to edit Planet Waves. Digital illustration from Cosmophilia: You Belong Here, by Lizanne Webb.

There are some other people you may not know of. For the past 18 months we have been involved in the process of restructuring the inner workings of the business — that is, getting the accounting books up to snuff, taking care of corporate paperwork, organizing our files and making sure we are sound and healthy.

Here are a few extra thank-yous, in the spirit of “there is no publishing without a business.”

First, Lauren Gdovin, my sister Pisces, who organized Blue Studio into a kind of life-raft and got our financial and business files in order, and who is now the guardian of the office and of our money.

Robert Schwartz, CPA, our elder statesman accountant since the summer of 2014, has presided over the many repairs we needed to do and has helped us plot a course to the future.

Ben Shor, a forensic bookkeeper on Bob’s team, sat at my desk in Blue Studio for countless Fridays, doing the hands-on work of ironing things out. Trust me: it was work.

Joseph Trusso, my mentor, therapy teacher and therapist from way back in the day, provided me with many ideas for refining my leadership style and organizing my priorities. During one session, he said, “Everything you do is music.” That took about six months to understand.

And Chelsea Bottinelli, who served Planet Waves for 12 years (since the Vashon Island days) and who has moved on, the better to raise her three young children.

Thank you each and all. It’s good to be with you.

Lovingly,

Thanksgiving Day 2015
Kingston, NY

3 thoughts on “A Year of Gratitude: We Are Still Here

  1. Amy Elliott

    I would like to join Eric in thanking everyone who has helped keep Planet Waves going. We’re not a mega-corporation and your generosity has been crucial.

    Love, much gratitude and major highfives to my colleagues and our writers. You guys rock. Special kudos to Amanda, Lauren, Lizanne and Len for helping me get through various difficulties and obstacles.

    Finally (and somewhat obviously) I feel compelled to offer Eric my wholehearted gratitude for the beneficence and support he has shown me over the past couple of years. First as an intern, then as staff. Eric, you’re ridiculously clever, unbelievably kind and totally brilliant, and I owe you big time.

    I could not ask for a better place to be right now than at Planet Waves.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

    Best wishes
    Amy

  2. Cheryl Corson

    Thank you Eric Francis and the entire PW team for your insights and support which helps me personally and also running both of my businesses. Since subscribing a few years ago, I regard your support as right up there with the rest of my team and am grateful.

  3. Pisces SunPisces Sun

    I love the Omega Institute, a spiritual center in NY and its co-founder and author Elizabeth Lesser. I am grateful that I came across Eric Francis who was listed as an astrologist on staff at Omega, since astrology never piqued my interest much honestly. From there it has literally changed my life and now I love Planet Waves too! I am grateful for the authors and guest contributors and the fact that now PW shapes my thinking and offers a platform for myself and others to express our own thoughts through a community of love and mutual support through pressing the envelope of human consciousness!

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