It's a long, long way to 50

no shortcuts, baby This post is #8 in a series of 50 dedicated to the art and life of writing, in support of the 50 for 50 Project to benefit WriteGirl. If you like it, or if you think it could have been improved by a better writing education for its author, please give generously. And pass it on.

The first thing I thought when I shut down this shindig for that first night, almost a week ago, was, "WOW. If we can raise almost five thousand dollars in one day, what can't we do?"

The second thing I thought was, "SHIT. We've still got over 45 thousand left to raise. What the hell was I thinking?!"

So you see, I have some work to do in more than one area.

* * * * *

Boy, do I wish there were shortcuts. My dirty little secret is that I wanted to wake up last Monday, the very first day of the campaign, and see that we'd done it. That somehow, in the middle of the night before we'd even officially started, some mysterious Generous Benefactor had stumbled on this little project and found it in her rich little heart to kick in the full $50K.1

In other words, some 25-odd years later, I'm still a sucker for fairy tales, for lottery tickets, for the urban working-girl myth of the Unidentified Limo Encounter. (Well, okay, maybe not the lottery tickets.)

But it is not true. There is no limo. There is no mysterious, wealthy deus ex machina who will come to rescue us. This is both the good news and the bad, naturally: we may find ourselves mired in whatever, but we have the wherewithal to dig ourselves out. Even if someone else did the miring, we can dig ourselves out. If you don't believe me, I'll see your skepticism and raise you one WWII vet who did a looong stretch in a Japanese POW camp. After he floated across the Pacific in a raft, fighting off sharks.

Besides, if there is one thing I have learned in my almost-50 years, especially those 11 days of it back in 2002, in the IBD ward of the Cedars Sinai Hilton, it is to never, ever wish away time. If you dread that exam on Thursday, remember: dreading is your privilege. There are a few people somewhere who are grabbing at their last breaths, just wishing they had some horrible Organic Chem exam to dread. They'd give that Jell-O on the tray, there, and the butterscotch pudding next to it, for the privilege of worrying about your Organic Chem exam for just a few hours.

* * * * *

In selecting the "perks" for the 50-for-50 campaign, I had to make some hard choices. The fundraising platform for this project only allows for 12 levels of giveaways. Which is widly frustrating. I can come up with 12 giveaways between the moka pot and the toilet.2

I finally decided that while it would be incredible to have a few Deus Ex Moneybags come out of the highly-polished, burled woodwork to give me and my churning bowels a rest with some gigantic pledges, it would be even more incredible if we raised this money by ones and twos. For the coffers to fill up with requests for $5 MP3 packs and $10 cross-stitchery and $15 wallpapers made by all of my wonderful friends, like the Tsilli Pines creation illustrating my favorite quote (by Beverly Sills!) you see just above these messy, heartfelt words.

Which is why there is a small and finite number of high-end perks and a pretty much infinite number of low-end ones. The gift we give to WriteGirl will be huge; $50,000 is a not-insignificant chunk of their annual operating budget. But the gift we can give to the world is infinite by comparison. That $50,000 will be gone well before the end of the year, but showing those girls that they mean something will not. Leaving one more example of "nobodys" making a difference will not. Demonstrating how community bands together to pull the next ones up will not.

This will not work without widespread sharing. Even if it works, i.e., we manage to raise the whole $50K (which I happen to believe we will), the project doesn't really do its job unless the most people possible feel like they can make the most awesome things happen, too.

There's a lot of room in the world for this kind of hope right now. Let's get to work, shall we?

xxx c

1Other things I wished for over that first weekend, in no particular order: for the humidity to dry up; for the liquid that bubbled up into my aunt's ground-floor rec room to be just water; for AT&T's sucktastic network to let up long enough to allow me to send and receive a text within 50 yards of the place I was staying; for my ride to the wedding to show up NOW, please; for French fries, oddly enough; and for the bride and groom to truly live happily ever after.

2BTW, if you're interested in helping out with the 50-for-50 Project by offering your own giveaway, we have a workaround: you can "sell" whatever it is on your own, via your website, email, etc., and then contribute the proceeds to the IndieGoGo campaign site on or before September 13. We'll help you promote everywhere else we can. To inquire about doing this, please contact me: colleen AT communicatrix (and so on).

Image © 2011 Tsilli Pines. Available in motivational desktop wallpaper size along with a gift-pack of other designer desktops for a mere $15 donation to the 50-for-50 project.