The final stretch goal for this project will be to get to $2,315 before Tuesday to fairly compensate actor Philip Proctor, member of the legendary, Grammy-award-winning Firesign Theatre and well-known voice actor (seriously--you've heard his voice; go check out his filmography), for his labor of love in recording the audio version of the title short fiction piece Bradbury.
Proctor, will be going into the studio eh-nee-min-it-now to begin recording even though we're still $84 short of the minimum I want to give Philip for this project. We need to be at $2,165 to give him $350, and I'd really love to send him a check for $500, which means the project needs to get to $2,315 before Tuesday. That would still be a fraction of what Philip is worth for a project like this. If you haven't contributed to the project yet and are excited about the idea of a Hollywood voice actor as talented and big-hearted as Phil, who was also a friend of Ray Bradbury's, working on this project, please consider chipping in a few bucks.
Read on for more details about this collection of short stories and how they came to this place.
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
While I have been a huge fan of the short story for most of my life, digging into stuff by Ring Lardner, Langston Hughes, James Thurber, Dorothy Parker, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Flannery O'Connor and Mark Twain, I came to know Ray Bradbury late in life.
It wasn't until my thirties that my eldest daughter discovered, with some amount of shock, that I'd never read Fahrenheit 451 (or ANY Bradbury, for that matter) and insisted that I remedy that immediately, if not sooner. I borrowed the book on CD from my beloved library and was, as anyone should be, smitten. After the book was over, Recorded Books presented an interview with Bradbury in which he talked about, among other things, his first encounter with Aldous Huxley, in which he ordered tea when what he really wanted was coffee. I loved that story, and it got my brain going, got me imagining the scene in my head--Bradbury, this young, virtually unknown writer scared out of his wits and longing for a cup of hot coffee, and Huxley, a literary giant, so confidently sipping as he sums Bradbury up in a surprising way.
I could see it all playing out right in front of me.
Then Bradbury said, during the interview, that when a short story comes into your mind, you have to write it immediately, because it has been given to you at that time and that place to be written by you. And so, after having felt for years that if I were going to write, it had to be a novel, beginning one and then another and then another with no sign of completion, Bradbury told me, as if he were speaking directly to me, that I needed to write a short story. Now. And it was to be about him.
And so I did.
When it was completed, I submitted my short story, Bradbury, to the Wayne Regional Writing Awards. It took first place.
From that came an avalanche of ideas, a series of short fiction that practically attacked me at every turn, stories about regret and lack thereof, about people faced with making choices that might not seem wise or popular, but are the only reasonable ones for these folks, at this time, to make. And no one else can make them for them.
The characters sprang to life for me. Bradbury himself, of course (or, at least, my interpretation of him), with his unique verbal pause. But also Marge, with her lid-skipping eyeliner and furcated loyalties. And Arnold, anchored to the soil but called by the sea. And Daniel, trying as hard as he can not to be bugged by that nasty Roger Wheeler's incessant hacking cough assaulting him daily as he sits captive in his cubicle.
When Bradbury died in June of 2012, I knew I had to pull these pieces together into a collection and publish them. After many sessions with my beloved group, the Killbuck Valley Writers' Guild, I have, with their guidance, shaped and crafted and polished and prepared these pieces. And now, they are ready for you.
But my goal with this Kickstarter is not just to publish my writing, but also to deal out these stories to a handful of my amazing visual artist friends, asking them each to illustrate one tale. Those illustrations will appear alongside the pieces, a collaboration between visual artist and writer, to be printed in these first 200 copies. The original pieces will be offered as incentives for the fabulous folks who fund the project.
I'm excited about this thing, I tell you. It's been in the works for awhile and, as Steve Jobs and Seth Godin have said, it's time to ship it.
So let's ship it together.
Here's a breakdown of the stories:
- Bradbury: Illustrated by Nicholas Tish
- The Giant on Bus #5: Illustrated by Deanna Maze
- Undercurrent: Illustrated by Paul Bennett
- Blessed Assurance: Illustrated by Kristin Lorson
- Etymon: Illustrated by Devin "Ace Lord Grizzly" Steiner
- To Hit a Moving Target: Illustrated by Caroline Macomber
- Epidemic: Illustrated by ?
- The Dress in the Window: Illustrated by Danielle Steiner
- One story, yet unnamed, to be co-written by the author and the backer who pledged $300.
Here's a breakdown of the costs:
- MET! $600 to publish 200 copies of the 77-100 page, 5.5" x 8.5" book with 8 black and white illustrations, all on 60# cream offset paper. (I'm doing the typesetting, layout and cover design myself, so no extra costs there);
- MET! $450 to pay the visual artists for their work (this is a bare minimum. If we can raise more, they'll get paid more).
- MET! $45 to cover the cost of duplicating the artwork as prints.
- MET! $105 to cover Kickstarter and Amazon fees.
- MET! Stretch goal #1: $450 to include 8 color illustrations on gloss paper in the book along with the black and white stories.
- Stretch goal #2: Pay Philip Proctor $500 for his voice talent!
- Any additional amount above the goal will allow me to pay the artists more, possibly add more pages and illustrations, and reduce the necessity of my non-writing work so I can concentrate on this project and get a head-start on the next one--not unlike the gift Harper Lee's friends gave her for Christmas!
But we'll cross those bridges when we come to them.
Thank you for your incredible support. I'm both terrified and beyond excited to see how this goes.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge, I think, will be keeping on schedule since there are several of us collaborating together. The artists I've chosen to work with have proven themselves as reliable, passionate and dedicated to doing the best work they can. I've set the fulfillment dates reasonably with the understanding that we're all wearing many hats. Because the stories are largely written and in the editing and layout stages now, I don't see that the project will have many setbacks, but I'll be sure to communicate with my backers should any difficulties arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)