Hello again! This is the last time I’ll be posting any uninteresting life/work updates on here for a while, but I thought it would be a good idea to let you all know that I now have a Patreon. You can sign up here:
I also have a Ko-Fi account, which you can find here:
(This is a little digital donation box that will allow you to tip me if you think I’ve written or tweeted something interesting, but you’d prefer not to pay on a monthly basis.)
Everyone seems to have a Patreon these days, so I don’t suppose I need to go into detail as to how they work. You pay a small amount of money each month to subscribe to someone’s content. You support the creator, in this case me, giving them (me) more incentive to keep on writing (or doing whatever it is they set up the Patreon to do), and in exchange you get some exclusive goodies every now and then.
I’m going to continue to write articles for the Medieval Indonesia blog here on Medium. Most of the things I write will be here. They will be completely free, and you will not need to pay into my Patreon to access them. The entire back catalogue will remain on here as well; there won’t be any paywalls around it. The new articles will be a little shorter than they have been in the past, though, and that’s because I’ll be moving some of the more arcane content to Patreon.
Previously, if I wrote about, say, a medieval traveller’s description of Java, I’d include a translation, some commentary, a transcription or transliteration of the text, and probably a couple of images from a digitised manuscript as well. In some pieces I’ve even put in some discussion of the grammar and palaeography of the text in question, as I did in the last significant post on here (on camphor in medieval Persian poetry). Not everyone wants or needs this kind of information and I’m sure some people find it distracting. I love that stuff, of course, and I don’t want to get rid of it entirely in order to commercialise my writing, but it’s probably a better idea to put that sort of thing on Patreon for paying subscribers. That way patrons get some exclusive content and everyone else gets to read the core arguments and ideas on here for free, the way God intended.
There’s no pressure for you to subscribe or to donate to my Ko-Fi, and if you like you can just sit back and benefit from the profusion of new free articles on here. If I can make enough money from writing, though, I won’t be forced to run off and start a yak farm in the Himalayas or become an insurance salesman or something like that. I’d prefer it if it didn’t come to that, and it’s probably better for the world if I continue to write about these somewhat esoteric topics and try to bring them into the light.
I have a lot of interesting topics to tackle and I shouldn’t think I’ll run out of content any time soon. Some of the things I have planned for February include a discussion of the etymology of ‘Nusantara’ (soon to be the name of Indonesia’s new capital city); a look at a medieval English description of Java; a translation of a Portuguese account of the island of Timor; and a new post in my series on the ‘Hemispheric Middle Ages’, focusing on some differences between Afro-Eurasian and American manuscripts. I’ll also continue to tweet interesting things about history and plants and so forth (follow me @ siwaratrikalpa), and you can address any suggestions, advice, hate mail, etc., to me at siwaratrikalpa @ gmail .com.
I’ve just had my booster vaccine so I’m feeling a bit sleepy and sickly, but I should be right as rain in no time. I’ll have the first Patreon exclusive content up this week.
A. J. West — Leiden, 2022