I suppose my tsunami anniversary artisan journalism project fundraising effort is similar to how any independent filmmaker funds their projects (in this case it's document writing via multimedia blog): We beg.
We ask for donations from obligated and pressured family, friends, acquaintences. And nowadays we nag our blog readers.
At my spiritual center, we're going through our own fundraiser (yet more begging here for my participation in the sit-a-thon). This year the staff decided to do things differently. "We're removing the obligation, pressure, competition, cajoling, compulsion element. Last year's team competition was fun, but it also had an edge to it. We want to be in harmony with the consciousness we're trying to raise. Can we inspire people rather than push? Have people pulled by a vision instead of pushed by pain? No phone calls of: And what will be your commitment this year?", said the director Tuesday night. She confesses, "It's exciting... if I remember to breathe. Someone once said, fear is excitement without the breath."
Inspired by a vision, instead of being pushed. I like that. I'd like to share my vision. It's New New Journalism. Oral histories with video and audio and writing in first person. And good old-fashioned storytelling more than reporting. With complexity - not everything's roses - but an artful presentation of the raw truth which is sometimes humbling and sometimes jarring and often beautiful and true.
We've heard plenty of December 26th, 2004 blow-by-blow accounts and watched footage of 30-foot ocean wall rushing inland like a freight train, but in reading 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers what I really wanted to know was how 9/11 survivors are faring. How does one live as a result of coming face to face with your own mortality?
I've suffered loss of close family members, material possessions, and livelihood before, but this was radically different. Everything changes when one confronts your own death. I'm a tsunami survivor myself (apologies to long-time readers that keep hearing backstory over and over and over again).
Some people experience post-traumatic growth. Others post-traumatic stress. And everything in the middle. Many stories are still in the making. There are tons of coming together in our mutual resiliency grassroots "doing it ourselves" stories. For instance, nine months later Reuters reported that "although Phi Phi had one of the biggest concentrations of tsunami victims, no formal aid organisations are here." Reuters continues that most of the relief work on the island I was vacationing on is being done by residents themselves along with volunteers whom pay their own way. And Little Andaman Islands architects and planners contacted Earthship to come over and teach them how to deal with shelter, water and sanitation issues in a sustainable manner. The main angles are post-traumatic growth & grassroots disaster relief & resiliency, but I also stay open to where the stories lead.
I'm asked, What good is blogging? Why write? Shouldn't I be doing important like building housing? Good questions. Why write deserves it's own post. In short, I am grateful that Anne Frank did write her diary. And, ultimately, this bird was made for singing.
I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. - Anne Frank
So many find talking, being listened to, writing, expressing to be theurapeutic that I'd like to offer this space for others to do so and sharing heals others in turn.
What I need: I ought to have 45 friends and friends of friends within my own network that are interested in $100 sponsorship links for THREE months on my blog (through 1/16/06). Any contribution appreciated. Donate here for the tsunami anniversary artisan journalism project ($100 & up includes ad link), or at the tipjar on upper left of blog. I'm interested in how blogs can help with fundraising in general and will share lessons learned. Also needed (loans ok): intra-Asia frequent flier miles, iRivers for audio oral histories, digital camera with video, lightweight (and smaller than regular laptop) computing device for publishing, ideas for satellite broadband or any Internet connectivity. Help in the way of leads to publications and media - print, radio, TV, online - that might be interested in bylined first-person writing & pro bono publicity and public relations. (More)
On funding, I was asked if all this money is just lining the airline's pockets. The Thai government is graciously offering to fly any tourist injured in the tsunami (includes me) or one surviving family member for the anniversary. The rest of the intra-Asia flights ought to be covered by frequent flyer miles.
No, I don't need all $4500 for myself. If the full goal is reached early enough I will be able to help perhaps another tsunami anniversary blogging/journalism effort plus seed the artisan journalism microfund for next year (thinking Africa, thinking kids perhaps - but who knows? we'll be taking applications for microfund recipients).
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. - Anne Frank
Bonus: Help me reach the full 45 sponsor goal, and I'll create and throw in a free autographed blook to all 45 sponsors when I return (a compilation of relevant prior posts, quotes on growth & resiliency from prior posts, all the tsunami anniversary posts - plus other blogger's creative commons licensed posts I may find - plus photos if color doesn't break the piggy bank).
Tsunami Anniversary / Tsunami Memorial Writers and Journalists: Contact me to have your project linked from the blog and featured.
p.s. Again I'll share lessons learned on fundraising. I believe that artists, innovators, creators need to learn how to make our own projects come to life.
UPDATE: Mike Sansone (see also) shared a brilliant idea. Why not donate your three-month sponsorship link to a charity of your choice? Mike is probably wincing by the attention as he intended this to be anonymous, but I'd like to give credit where it is due. He went a step further and told me to give his three-month ad to the charity of my choice. He ends his email: Be contagious with your courage and compassion... I am humbled and touched that so many people that read this blog intimately know the definition of bodhisattva without the benefit of a Google search.