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Tax Return Season

  • Posted on February 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

In the United States of America, we pay taxes every single day. On the money we make, on the money we spend, on everything, just about. These taxes pay for our roadways. They pay for our city ordinances and libraries and public schools. They pay for the indigent health care that is the only health care I currently have. These taxes give disability payments to those who cannot work and welfare payments to those who can’t find work. These taxes give food to those who cannot buy their own.

In short, these taxes help save lives. A lot of people disagree. A lot of people feel we pay way too many taxes. To these people, I ask, what do you expect? What can be done without money these days, and where is the government meant to get that money without our support as citizens. You don’t complain about the tax money when it comes to the properly-paved roads, only when there are holes in them. You don’t complain about the libraries that provide the homeless with places to be during the day, until they close down and the homeless stand on your street corners. You don’t complain about law enforcement, until they’ve pulled you over. To the people who complain about taxes, I say this:

When you check our a book at the library, you’re asked to return it on time, correct? And when you don’t you pay a fee. That fee then goes to the librarians salaries. The librarians who help you find and check out books. That fee goes to the lease on the property that library sits on. That fee goes to purchasing new books. That fee goes to holding classes for those too poor to attend college. That fee is useful. So I never complain about paying the fee on a book I kept out too long. After all, if I didn’t want to pay the fee, I just wouldn’t use the service, would I? Taxes are just like that. If you don’t want to pay the taxes, move somewhere else.

The bright side to taxes comes down to this, however. And this bright side is Tax Returns.

So basically, the idea is, you pay exactly your fair share in taxes. Sometimes, however, because of the way the system is set up, you accidentally over pay! So, the government, after you file your taxes, and they double check their math, sends you a check with your tax returns!

It’s a little like hitting the lottery. I knew a family that when they filed their combined taxes, they got a return of $3000 dollars. My best friend got a return of around $1500. I’m getting close to $1200 dollars back this year. Last year, I only got about $500 dollars back. But what do you do, when you have a ton of money coming to you in one lump sum?

Some people, like a girl I know from work, payed off her credit card debt, and then bought a $300 purse. My best friend paid her son’s tuition for his school, and then bought her husband a giant tv. (and gave me the smaller one! Yay!) I know one friend who is planning to save it until Comicon in the summer, and spend it there. So what’s the right strategy when it comes to using your tax return?

Personally, I intend to make sure my tax return works for me this year. I don’t want to fritter it away on purses or food or anything like that. I really want to make sure I spend this money wisely. So I consulted some articles. Some, like Money Crasher’s article, were filled with a few good ideas, but mostly bland options. Others, like TurboTax’s article, are filled with more whimsical ideas. Personally, I like the idea of funding a business.

For almost a year, I have been considering starting an Apiary. Often, with a $500 start up cost, you can get a decent 3-4 hive Apiary going. Enough to supply honey for a small shop. I’m thinking of it as a great way to make sure I have revenue coming in in the future. A second blade, if you will, were I to use terms from Assassination Classroom. It would be difficult, of course, to run a business, work full time AND attend College. Which is what my plans are for this year. However, it’s going to be worth it.

My other plan is glasses. My own are wearing down, and I can barely see. Glasses, when one doesn’t have insurance, generally cost anywhere from $500 to $1200, depending on your perscription and the frames you chose. I may just ask them to reuse my frames.

In general, however, this is how it always goes. I pledge to myself I will spend my return wisely, and then it’s gone before I know it. Hopefully, this year, my return season goes better than last, and hopefully, yours too. Tell us what you plan on spending your tax return on  in the comments! If you live in a country that doesn’t do tax returns, tell us how your tax system works! I’m very curious.

Finding Your Niche in 3 Easy Steps

  • Posted on July 15, 2014 at 10:45 pm

For some of us, the word Niche ends up being a scary sort of thing. Something to fear and worry over. It becomes something akin to the word ‘cage’ or ‘trap’. We feel as though it is meant to hem in what we want to accomplish with the world. It isn’t something that comes easy or is to be taken lightly, and that, in and of itself, brings about a form of terror. Niche writing tends to end up very personal, and some don’t wish to be subjected to the backlash that writing a blog on ‘personal care after BDSM‘ or ‘how to trim your pubic hairs‘, but that is what they know, and love.
When it came to my attention that perhaps finding that one little niche market that meant something to me would be a good idea, I legitimately had a panic attack for several days. I didn’t want to be hemmed into something that didn’t fit. But how could I find something that did? What if it was too much for my readers to ever want to read? What if what I liked was something too obscure, and no one would want to read it?
So, I sat down, in front of my Zenwriter, and thought to myself, what are some steps I can take to make this less terrifying. What are some things I can ask myself about writing in a niche, to find out what exactly my niche was. Now, I already had a niggling thought in the back of my head of what that might be, but I didn’t necessarily want to force myself into it.
The first question in my list was: What do I want to share with the world?
This was easy. I want to share fantasy with everyone. I want to share it in a way that makes everyone feel included. Women, men, transgender, genderqueer, gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, aromantic, everyone, everywhere should be able to read a fantasy book and think, “oh wow, I wish that I could experience that.”
The second question was: Okay, but what do you want to share with the world ON YOUR BLOG?
This wasn’t so easy. In fact, it’s what caused the several day panic attack. I want to share myself with the world. I want to let everyone know who I am and where I come from and why I’m the way I am. But I also want to share with the world the things that are wrong, and the things that are right and the things that are beautiful. I want to teach the world to accept not only itself but everyone else, and to see that we are all the same in that we dream beautiful dreams.
That lead to the question: But how can I share this with the world?
A friend of mine, Chris Votey, brought up the idea of interviews with other LGBTQA writers, Reviews of other writer’s work, and offering myself as a representative of Asexual culture. Which, honestly, I wouldn’t find too bad. It would take a lot of time, and energy however. But, I find the more I think about it, the less I mind. Because really, isn’t it about what I give, not what it takes from me? Then, I thought about what else I could do to share my dream of representation with the world.
Resources. I could provide resources for things that most people don’t think of. I could try to provide a unique look into certain subcultures. I could write about the things that interest me, and hopefully, provide enough information that others would like it. But that won’t get me any closer to being like those I admire. That won’t bring me the same sort of love that Misha Collins, Andrew Hussie, or Neil Gaiman have. That won’t help others to see my words.
Then, I thought that perhaps I could start with lists. With things that I find out, over the course of my journey to become a full-fledged author. Such as this list that you’re reading right now. That definitely helped to ease my panic a little. Because lists, lists are small, and easy, and quickly done, so I can definitely work with them. Another thing I could have tried is perhaps snippets of information found throughout the internet. Or perhaps little anecdotes from my life that help me to focus on what it is I am working on.
But that’s all very abstract and not very well thought out. So, I rewrote it.

 

1) What is it that I want to share with the world?
– Representation for all, and fantasy that everyone can enjoy.

2) What is it that I want to share with those reading my blog?
-Ways to spread Representation, My thoughts on LGBTQA representation, and my progress in my quest for more.

3) How am I to share this?
– Lists
– Personal anecdotes
– Resources found throughout my internet trawling
– Interviews with other LGBTQA writers
– Reviews of websites, blogs and books written for/by other LGBTQA writers
– Snippets of my writing and writing styles

And there you have it. My path to finding my niche, and settling into it. I hope this helps you, because it certainly helped me. If you need any more information, please, leave a comment, or email me, and I’ll be happy to help you find your niche too. And please, don’t hesitate to speak up.

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