the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

Name:
Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Child Without A Voice

Not long ago, I posted about the plight of autistic children in many parts of the world, and asked what a writer could do to stop it. I still don't have an answer to the larger questions, but one comment started me thinking of one thing we can all do. No matter what else may happen in the world, we can each try to help one person at a time.

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.

There is also the problem of setting this up so neither Anna nor I winds up with a nasty surprise from the tax man, and so everyone who participates can be sure the money really goes to help Red. I wouldn't even begin to know how to do that. I'm also not sure if such an arrangement is possible under LuLu's current terms of use, or whether a special accommodation will be necessary there. I can probably find that out on my own, at least.

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.

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diigo it

25 Comments:

Blogger anna said...

You have touched my heart so much with your kindness that I cannot stop weeping. Thank you for caring about my son.

I think it's a good idea to get this idea out to the families who live with Apraxia. You can go to a Yahoo! group that I belong to at
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/childrensapraxianet/ as well as the site, http://www.speech-express.com/boards/, as well as http://www.apraxia-kids.org/

Can I write a story?

You're an awesome person. I'd love to speak with you about this further if you wouldn't mind. Thank you so much.

Anna & Alexander

March 26, 2007 8:59 PM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Anna, I'll check out the groups you mention, although I think we need to get things in place before we publicize it too much. In case that doesn't make sense to you - if the publicity comes too early, then before the book's ready to sell, everyone's already heard of it, and when it comes out, they just ignore it.

Of course you can write a story. If you can survive your dental ordeal, my editing shouldn't be that bad. :-) And you're welcome to e-mail me if you like.

March 26, 2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Anna, sorry, my e-mail address is right in the header of my blog. I didn't think to mention it; I know it's there...

March 26, 2007 10:22 PM  
Blogger Susan Abraham said...

An excellent idea, Ray. You can count me in to contribute a story though I can't think about the length right now. Even if it's just flash fiction. But you can count me in! :-)

March 27, 2007 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Titles

How about When Voices Fail ro When Words Fail? Maybe The Sound of Silence?

March 27, 2007 11:55 AM  
Blogger monideepa said...

Excellent idea and a great example of what bloggers can achieve. I'll definitely write a short story for this collection and add your link to my blogroll for a start.

March 28, 2007 3:07 AM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Thank you, Susan and Moni, for offering to help. I've had one or two other private offers, and of course Anna's as well. So it looks like I will have at least a good start on an anthology. I'm hoping more writers will sign up.

March 28, 2007 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Mike Cunningham said...

I've placed the first paragraphs on the stocks, and I'm aiming for around fifteen thousand-odd words.

You have spotlit a good cause, and while I don't agree or contribute to many mainstream charities, I'll do my best to pull a good one together for little 'Red'.

March 28, 2007 12:48 PM  
Blogger anna said...

We send a big thank you to each one of you. I can't wait to read them.

I like those titles that anonymous offered. Those were good.

I'm especially fired up about this today since our therapist just cancelled yet another session, without rescheduling. She does this constantly.

GRRRR

March 29, 2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Mike, thank you as well. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous, I agree with Anna; it just seems a little absurd to be addressing "Anonymous".

Anna, I'm disgusted to hear the therapist is even allowed to do that. Not surprised, but disgusted. I have at least enough offers of stories to make a good start, but I'm still stuck on the legal issues. I've tried begging a few lawyers; one was at least kind enough to suggest someone who might be better able to help. The others haven't replied at all. I still have a few ideas up my sleeve, though.

March 29, 2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger david santos said...

How do you do?
Thanks for your sentences.
I continued.
Have a good week

April 02, 2007 7:23 AM  
Blogger AquariusSal is... said...

Hi Ray, let me know the details for submission once you've got it ironed out. One short story is the least I can do for this project. God bless! Sal

April 03, 2007 12:16 AM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Sal, the basic idea is to submit to me, at my e-mail (in the header of the blog) as soon as you can. So we can get help to Red as quickly as we can.

April 03, 2007 2:33 AM  
Blogger jason evans said...

Since this idea is to help Anna, my suggestion would be to have all of the authors transfer all of their rights in their stories to Anna, who can then publish the anthology and derive the income from it. That approach would be much easier than trying to have the authors retain certain rights.

That's just my quick thoughts. I'm not a British attorney, and I haven't checked the terms of use at Lulu.

April 03, 2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger Bhaswati said...

You never cease to inspire, WA. Sincere thank s for doing this. I have a story you may want to consider for the anthology. I will email it to you.

April 05, 2007 11:51 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Let me know when the book is done and I will Link the information to my Special Needs in Home Education of Canada group. We have many autistic children as members and I know sells would improve through it. many parents in the group share the same plight, with lack of therapy and funding.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/snheo/

April 06, 2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger [windscreen:fly] said...

[this is EXACTLY what I mean about blogging doing something positive, with the emphasis on DOING rather than navel gazing self-satisfied preaching.

excellent idea WA and one I will definitely be included in!]

April 07, 2007 3:11 AM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

I'm sorry to everyone for the long silence. I've been sick, and too worn out to post. I was also trying to keep this post at the top for a long time.

Jason, I'll discuss your idea in my next post on this.

Bhaswati & Windscreen Fly - thank you for your help.

Jennifer - thanks for your help as well and I'll let you know when we're ready for publicity. No one's actually sent me their story yet, so I can only make so much progress.

April 07, 2007 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you could please contact me with all the information via the "contact me" option on www.fictionscribe.com, I'd be more than happy to do a post on what you're doing.

Thanks

JM

April 13, 2007 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Clare said...

Great idea - I'd love to contribute. I have a nephew who is autistic and has very few words so this strikes a chord with me.

Got here via Minx BTW.

April 26, 2007 5:10 PM  
Blogger Radin said...

I am in. will write the story. Regarding rights “a gift to a good cause”.
It is not a good idea to choose a tile before writing the story but….
Title: “Talking in silence”
“Can you hear what I can’t say?”
“My deafening silence”
“A mouth without a voice”

April 28, 2007 5:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray,

Somehow I've missed seeing what your submissions deadline is. Can you let me know? I've got an idea rolling around right now, but can't promise anything at the moment.

I'll see what I can do...

~Saoirse
Keep up the good work.

May 09, 2007 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray,

One other thought--do you have a cover artist/designer?

I generally agree with whoever said have all authors sign over their rights--although a contract could be worded to give Anna "first North American (or worldwide)" rights or something similar (you could even put a time limit on rights so they revert to their authors in 2, 3 or 5 years--whatever). There are a ton of ways to do the contracting and frankly I'm too rusty to do much but suggest some basic options.

If you go with all rights going to Anna in perpetuity, make sure and get it written in that authors may still use their work as samples (clips) and for advertising purposes. I'll probably think of more later...

If all rights go to Anna, so do the tax issues (since authors are paid nothing).

Have a good day!
~Saoirse

May 09, 2007 10:55 AM  
Blogger Annie D said...

I also have a child with apraxia who can't speak. He is 4 1/2...

I might be able to write a story. send me a message on my blog .. or something. anything new goin on with this ?

June 27, 2007 2:14 AM  
Blogger Jane Marla VerDow said...

Keep me updated on this project.
I'll start with a link on my Author/Self-Publishing website positioned where new and upcoming writers and authors would search.

Within this week I'll post your message and link with my blog.

http://www.risingsparrowpress.com

and blog

http://storytellersandwriters.blogspot.com

Best Wishes
to you and this project.

My vote for the title:
Children Without a Voice

or Here's one that comes to my mind...
A Voice To Be Heard

Jane Marla VerDow

July 19, 2007 2:58 PM  

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