The Moving Monks, a mysterious package, and a contribution to the commons
After a long, spectral flight back from New York on Tuesday night, it feels like I have returned not to the San Francisco I left, but to the off-kilter San Francisco of my story. The weather is so odd; wet and warm, humid. (It's never humid.) The sky looks strange, inhabited by species of clouds that don't usually roam here.
We're the project of the week on Kickstarter's home page! Pretty cool—and if you joined up because you spotted us there: welcome!
There are three things I want to mention in this update. The third is the most important, so skip to that if you're short on time.
I left part of the book in New York.
The Moving Monks are gone. You never got to know them—and you won't now, either, because I'm squirreling them away for some future story. Suffice it to say, the sign on the side of their truck says...
...but, in contradiction to their mantra, the Moving Monks did not actually fit in this story. I was (and am) just so enthusiastic about the idea that I totally forced it. I think that's a special danger with your first big project—you try to squeeze everything in. Sorry, brothers; this isn't your book.
The shape of the final package—the thing you'll get in the mail—has crystallized in my mind, and I've placed my first orders for materials.
I have to give a shout-out to Wilson Miner, a friend of mine here in San Francisco; he gave me great advice early on, encouraging me to focus on artifacts from this made-up world. So, for instance, illustrations should show you not the characters themselves, but rather what the characters see, what they hold in their hands. Artifacts turbo-charge your imagination instead of pre-empting it. And—this is my extrapolation—the book itself could feel like a refugee from this other world... an object that's escaped, somehow, into ours.
And that's all I'm going to say about that.
The book is going to be Creative Commons licensed. This was always likely, but not locked in; I made the decision this week.
Now, that's all very cool and 2.0, but I feel like too much CC-licensed work just sorta sits there. You CC-license something new and then triumphantly announce your contribution to the public sphere, as if people are desperate to remix it the way they're desperate to remix, say, Batman.
Generally, they are not.
So, in tandem with the CC license, I want to do something to actively encourage remixing right out of the gate. To compensate for not being Batman. Yet. Thus, I have two questions for you:
First, brainstorming. What's an interesting remix opportunity for the text and illustrations from a short book, in part or in whole? Not just redistribution—that's easy—but something transformative. Any examples you can think of? Any new ideas—things you'd like to see?
Second, permission. How would you feel if I used part of the book's budget as a remix incentive? I'm imagining some sort of mini-contest, launched just after the book goes out, with a $500-1000 prize. And perhaps we—me and the 422 of you—could all judge it together. I'm not 100% sure how that would work, but it feels doable—and (I'll be honest) really fun and exciting. What do you think?
Next update: her name.