A Child Without A Voice
Anna's son, Red, has apraxia, which means he can't talk. And her health insurer has decided Red's need for a speech therapist doesn't qualify. So Anna read my post and said, "Children who can't speak. God, how I understand that subject."
Anna's comment left me thinking about her son. Too many people are seeking donations for too many needs for a button seeking donations through PayPal to do much good. It always seems easier to raise funds if you offer something in return; that's why bake sales and raffles are so popular. But what can a blogger offer? Well, a lot of bloggers are writers, or want to be.
The best idea I've had to date is to produce an anthology of short stories on one theme: "a child without a voice". When it's ready, put it up for sale on LuLu and publicize it all over the Internet, hoping enough kind souls will buy the book, knowing all the profits are going to a good cause. I was considering this idea when I read on Anna's blog it was Red's birthday.
I'd planned to take more time, so I could have everything worked out. But I just couldn't wait. When I brought my idea up in the comments, Anna mentioned that Red will be without therapy over the summer, when school ends. I'm not at all sure it's even possible to do this that quickly, but I've got to try. All I'm asking you to do is read on, and see if there's anything you'd be willing and able to help with.
I understand many of you have your own worries, but I do hope you'll at least keep up with this project so you can write a short post about it - (please read what's needed, first...) - to help get the word out. I know many of you who read this blog are friends, and I don't want to presume on our friendship, but I don't think it's asking too much to hope most of you will write a short post or two to help out. (And, if you have your reasons for not doing so, I'll understand and respect that.)
I'll give more details on the anthology in a few paragraphs, for anyone who might consider writing a story for it, but there are other points that need to be worked out so the book can be published. First of all, the book can't legally be published without an agreement written by someone who understands copyright law, granting rights for this project but allowing each author to retain the remaining rights to their own work. If possible, it should cover submissions from any country, and sales to any country as well.
Most of you can't help with the legal questions, but if you do have a relationship with any blawgs, or happen to know a good lawyer who might donate a bit of time, I'd appreciate your help. I'll also be seeking help myself, but I already know this - if I could afford to pay the lawyers, I could pay for the therapy myself and spare myself all the work! I'm just hoping the legal issues can be broken down into smaller tasks, and there will be enough lawyers willing to help.
If any of you have thoughts on how to improve the project, increase the chances this will raise enough money, or get things done quickly enough to help out this summer, please leave a comment! I promise that sharing ideas won't obligate you to do anything more, unless you want to. And if you're willing to help publicize the book once it's out, just e-mail me at thewanderingauthor [at] yahoo [dot] com so I know and I'll e-mail you to alert you when it's time.
A few of you might be willing to write a story for the anthology, and I'm hoping the rest of you might write a short post pointing my project out to anyone who might consider it. A lot of publicity is not good yet; that should wait until the book is ready for sale, or just before. But I do need to get the word out far enough to ensure enough submissions to make this work, and I'm hoping you'll each help there.
Now, what all the writers have been waiting for - the guidelines. You won't be paid for this, of course. And I'm going to try to produce as professional quality a book as possible. For a very few of my readers, that may mean I'd only need to proofread your manuscript. For most of you, I'll be editing your story (unless I can find a better editor) and I'll be merciless! You may learn a lot about cleaning up your prose, but I want you to be prepared.
And, no matter how good a friend you are, the important thing here is to help Red! So, if the story you submit isn't good enough, or it's late, I'm sorry, but I won't include it. Exactly how good the stories are will depend on who I can persuade to submit, and how soon I can get enough together for a book. So please, if you're a friend, don't expect special treatment.
I will consider stories of any length from flash fiction through novella (say, from as few words as you can pack a story into up to a maximum of about 25,000-30,000 words). If your story is over the limit, submit it anyway - chances are the prose will need pruning, and that will cut the word count. The more submissions I get, the better my chances of putting together a quality book that will serve the purpose well.
Please, don't worry about how good a writer you are! If you have the ability to get the raw material for a good story down on paper, I'll work with you to improve it if I need to. If I get enough submissions that need less work, then, yes, I'll pass you over. Again, the point here is to help a little boy who can't speak for himself, who can't do something as simple as just tell his mother he's terribly thirsty.
The theme of each story should be "a child without a voice". The child doesn't have to have apraxia, but they should literally be unable to speak so others can understand them. No allegories, or children who are just too afraid to speak, just children who share Red's plight, if not his condition. If your story ends with a solution, it shouldn't be too simple, and if you don't keep your story to roughly a PG-13 level, I'll edit it down to that.
At the moment, I'm considering several possible titles. Children Without Voices, The Words Just Will Not Come, and I Cannot Speak Up for Myself are the ideas I'm toying with right now, although that will probably change before publication. Feel free to submit ideas for a title, as well, or tell me what you think of the ideas under consideration. I'll be posting periodic updates, and there may be changes as I try to make this work as quickly as possible, but I'll try to put up a visible link to the most recent post, and provide a link back in that post to this one, so you can always keep up.
I close this with a final challenge - bloggers are viewed with disdain and disrespect by many people who don't blog. While helping Red is the most important part of this project, some of you could perhaps use a bit more motivation: this is a way to show the world what blogging can accomplish, and that bloggers can improve the world, one little bit at a time, if we put our minds to it.