I launched my first ever Kickstarter campaign yesterday and it has been a crazy two days.

The project is a book that I have had in mind for a very long time.  It’s called Alphabet of the Other Childhood and it will contain a whole lot of this.

C is for Comparison draft 3

26 pages just like this in fact.

 

As I put the page and video together I was pretty nervous about whether or not I’d be able to get any funding.  What if I was embarrassingly under my goal?  What if I got really close but then didn’t make it?  Which would be more devastating?

Then I launched.  Not only did people start pledging, but they also generously linked to the page on all kinds of social media along with amazingly kind words.

We all have these strange extended communities online, and mine became tangible over night.  I couldn’t sleep because I just sat looking over the list of pledges and smiling like an idiot feeling gratitude.

Kickstarter is amazing.  I’ve been sharing my creative endeavors online for a long time and gotten lots of kind feedback, but having people offer money to make one of my ideas happen has been a completely different kind of validation.

It’s like I said to the Internet, “I’m an Artist.” and the Internet said, “Yeah, we know.”  aaaaand there was nary a traditional media channel in site.  Well, almost.

I was contacted for an interview for by a reporter from Boston Magazine Online and things got even more surreal.  What’s that now? A reporter called me just to talk about my artistic endeavors and not because I witnessed an accident or something?

It was hard to feel fancy about it though when I had to walk around my driveway to talk to him because that’s where I can get cell reception.  My uber-controlling landlady was there taking our trash out (like we’ve asked her not to do) and watching me stumble over my words trying to explain my project and sound legit.

I felt about as shady as this kid.

I felt about as shady as this kid.

After getting off the phone I immediately panicked thinking I hadn’t said a single intelligent thing and ran to my computer to send the reporter a better explanation of my ideas.

If you’d like to read the results of that comedy act, you can find the article here!

I have 7 days to go and I’m at 34% of my goal.  At this point most of the people in my community who are going to support the project have pledged.  So, going forward, success is going to depend on my ability to get the project seen by as many potentially interested strangers as possible.  I’ve been writing emails to popular blogs like crazy and I’m even going to go all analog on this.

instagram

I hope I make my goal.  It would be a dream come true to be able to take an entire month and dedicate it to the completion of a creative project that I believe in.

If I don’t make it, I will be bummed, but there would be nothing embarrassing about it.  The crazy wave of love and support that I’ve been awash in these past two days will stay with me no matter what.

That being said, I’d love it if you took a look at the project page and shared it with anyone you think might be interested :)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1931408548/alphabet-of-the-other-childhood-a-darkly-humorous

I live in Watertown Massachusetts.

I live less than a mile from where, after a day that felt like it had more than a few extra hours in it, law enforcement officials finally apprehended 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

My house was awoken the night before by the sound of explosives being thrown from that Mercedes we’ve heard so much about, and I had the strange experience of watching police helicopters on the news while listening to those same helicopters as they hovered directly above my house for the entire day.

I say all of this to illustrate the point that I was close to this, and to qualify myself to protest against something I’ve seen pop up in lots of writing about yesterday.

This morning, like everyone else, I started reading to see what more solid information we might have available to us about the awful attack on our city on Marathon Monday, and about the mess of events that led to a whole metropolitan area essentially being in lockdown for an entire day.

Over and over again I’ve seen reporters, no doubt trying to spin the best narrative, characterize the experience of all of us who were stuck in our houses as being terrorized. To quote Michael Daly at the Daily Beast we, “spent an eternal day in fear behind locked doors, feeling the terror that terrorists want you to feel.”

And of course there was the lovely little interlude yesterday when our collective tension could be briefly aimed at State Representative for Arkansas Nate Bell when he had the balls to send this little doozy of a tweet,

@NateBell4AR:I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?

I won’t even go into dissecting the many reasons that that tweet and the ideas and attitudes that it represents are absolutely abhorrent (especially coming from a State Representative) as I’m sure the rest of the internet is already taking care of that.  I bring it up merely to quote someone else who responded to him and who’s words I’ve borrowed as the title of this post.

@ginalou: We don’t cower, asshole. MT @NateBell4AR: I wonder how many Boston liberals spent night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15

That’s the sentiment I want to drive home.  We were not cowering yesterday. We, meaning millions of people who call the Greater Boston area our home, were not terrorized yesterday.  We were coming together as a community and cooperating to aid law enforcement officials in getting the people responsible for this attack on our home.  By staying off the streets we could ensure that Police could conduct their business without any interference.

It has been a very strange week; for the victims who are just beginning to heal, for the friends and families of those who were lost, and to an entire community who’s had to come together in a very real shared experience and consider the things that we normally take for granted.

Boston is our home. It is a beautiful diverse city. It belongs to us, and if you threaten our rights to safety and freedom of movement through this gorgeous place, we will collectively come to a halt in order to better stop you.

We don’t cower.

Image

This was floating around yesterday and I love it. Wish I could credit. If anyone knows who is responsible for this image please let me know so I can credit the artist.

In order to keep myself active in this game I’ve chosen to create a visual response to each book I read instead of writing a traditional review.  I will still rate each book and give a few words in response.

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness. - Anne Frank

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness. – Anne Frank

It destroyed me.  I found myself returning to both the quote that inspired my illustration and the following passage over the days that followed for comfort.

This is where Mother and I differ greatly.  Her advice in the face of melancholy is: “Think about all the suffering in the world and be thankful you’re not part of it.” My advice is: “Go outside, to the country, enjoy the sun and all nature has to offer.  Go outside and try to recapture the happiness within yourself; think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you and be happy.”

I don’t think Mother’s advice can be right, because what are you supposed to do if you become part of the suffering? You’d be completely lost.  On the contrary, beauty remains, even in misfortune.  If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance.  A person who’s happy will make others happy; a person who has courage and faith will never die in misery!

In order to keep myself active in this game I’ve chosen to create a visual response to each book I read instead of writing a traditional review.  I will still rate each book and give a few words in response.

The Giver with border

Thought I’d start off the year with books I missed as a kid.  This one didn’t do too much for me,  though I think it definitely would have if I had read it when I was young.  At this point I’ve absorbed enough of this genre that every plot twist was broadcast from the beginning.

I found some of it’s imagery to be intriguing, and the story was entertaining enough for a one day read, but ultimately I wasn’t satisfied.   As a kid, the outline of the society presented here would have been enough to sate my imagination, but having become accustomed to the elaborate world creation of book series such as Harry Potter or Song of Ice and Fire, I found this one lacking.

For my visual response, I tried to explore the book’s theme of coming of age and suddenly seeing what was there all along.

 

Found this little book I made while working a day care job that I was miserable in.

Rest assured, I was only trying to keep myself amused during craft time and didn’t read this to any actual children.

Once upon a time there were three little pigs.

They built some houses.

There was also a wolf.

He was not very nice.

But it wasn’t a big deal.

He got it in the end.

The first pig worked at Whole Foods.

It was less than satisfying.

The second pig worked in a calling center.

He wrote bad free verse about his cubicle.

The third little pig was toiling away in middle management, struggling to pay his mortgage, and wondering when his freeloading brothers were going to move out and build new houses.

He secretly wished the wolf had been faster.

This is our youth.

I’ve long been a fan of infomercials.  I mean, what’s not to love?  There’s the actors working hard to make simple tasks like hanging a shelf or pouring milk seem like a disaster.  There’s the idiotically transparent marketing ploys; “Hurry! Ever since the heaters have been given away for free, the Amish have imposed a limit of two per household!” And most importantly, there’s the way in which they try to convince you to buy something that is cheaply made, and that you absolutely do not need, through the use of their own perverted logic.

If A: You are cold and need something to warm you while still being able to do stuff and B: You own no sweaters and blankets are a hassle which will prevent you from doing even the simplest of tasks, then C: You are in desperate need of a blanket with sleeves.

Admit it. You’ve tried one on at some point.

It’s a logical argument if you can just ignore the fact that the idea of blankets as an inconvenience is an invented problem.

Half of the fun of watching an infomercial is imagining the person out there on whom the pitch is actually working.

“Cold arms! Story of my life!  I’d call to order one of these right now, but then I’d have to reach from inside this blanket and I’m pretty sure my limbs would freeze immediately and fall off of my body.”

With the ease of doing business online and with the general public’s overfed appreciation of irony (meaning they’ll buy because it’s ridiculous and for no other reason), it would seem that there’s never been a better time to peddle nonsense through direct marketing.  As a result, I’ve noticed a whole new school of infomercial that has become ubiquitous on daytime TV; The Toy Infomercial.

Yup. They’re going after the kids,

If the kids I take care of owned these, I’d make sure they went missing.

and for some reason, it bothers me.

Now, toy commercials are and always have been preposterous.  Crossfire had nothing to do with hover boards, the people in Guess Who could not actually talk, and Mouse Trap was presented as an actual game you could play as opposed to an impossible jumble of plastic pieces that your dad couldn’t put together quickly enough to keep you interested in playing with it.

What makes these toy infomercials any more insidious than those?

I think it’s the time factor.  Normal commercials run for thirty seconds, an infomercial can run for up to two and a half minutes.  To a child, two and a half minutes is an eternity.  Also, as a professional childcare worker, I know that kids will buy into almost anything if you speak slowly and in a rational sounding voice.

For example, “I know you want to read The Little Engine that Could for a fifth time, but we can’t because the characters are getting too tired.  They need to rest.  Here, let’s sing them to sleep and never read this book again.”

I guess infomercials aren’t any more sinister than most advertising aimed at children.  Just ask this guy.

Carcinogens never looked so cute.

For some reason though, they make me feel icky.

I guess I’ll have to work it out the next time I’m reclined on my therapist’s couch, wrapped in a Snuggie while multitasking by working my arms with my Shake Weight.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few examples of the kid stuff I’ve been seeing..

Stompeez

Makes cute kids even cuter! Will entertain both your child and your senile mother! (see the 1:00 mark) Will make your child very uncomfortable as an adult when they realize you encouraged them to stomp around flopping two slippers named “Sir One-Eyed Monster!”  Really I don’t see why you don’t already own five pairs.

Squishy Baff

I used to work in a day care where we had some of this stuff, but it was meant to be played with in small amounts in a bowl or on a tray.  It feels like the kind of substance you would pay a doctor to lance out of you if a really big spider implanted its eggs in your forearm while you were sleeping.  Lets submerge some kids in it!

Stuffies

You know, I can actually get on board with this one.  Why not give your child a toy expressly for the purpose of hiding their most secret possessions, especially when they’re too young to realize that it’s the first place anyone will look if something is missing.  Also, when they get a little older it could prove a useful tool in educating them of the sad plight of drug mules.

Cuddleuppets

It encompasses BOTH of your favorite things kids; blankets AND puppets!

In about ten years, I see a future of college freshmen taking their old Cuddleuppets to college.  They’ll sit on the end of super narrow beds for a few weeks as a kitschy reminder of a fast receding childhood, but then one day that cool sophomore from intro to Sociology will come over and good old Mr. Elephant will get rolled up to block the crack at the base of the dorm room door while your little angel smokes his or her first joint.

I mean, look at those eyes.

Hey Molly, make sure your mom remember to buy more Cheetos. They’re rad.

It’s destiny.

I want to write something about everything I read/watch, but sometimes I don’t want to put in all that much effort. Thus, I give you, Haiku Reviews

~~~~~

the weight of chaos

of responsibility

with no redepmtion

Note: I feel obligated to point you in the direction of some actual in depth writing on this one, and I will by including this link to Jim Emerson’s Piece, The Three Faces of Margaret.

It is what I read that made me seek out the film, and I urge you to do so as well.  It’s a beautiful film. I’m planning on buying the extended cut.

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