“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” perennial cheerful soul Tennessee Williams had a way with good lines. At the commencement of Dark Slivers: Seeing Nirvana in the Slivers of Incesticide it was just me, alone, working away to put together the notes to convince myself I had enough of value to make myself want to write more. From very early on, however, it relied not just on a touch of courage and desire, but on the willingness of a number of people to take a look at a few questions, to help me consider title, to do ALL the design work, to assist with publishing contacts, to offer feedback, to help promote, to consider or review.
Naturally it left me in a mood to show similar support of others, whether local musicians, distant musicians, those making their own writing efforts. One item spotted via a friend was a gentleman called Uli Meyer who was using KickStarter to get his first children’s book into print:
If you take a moment to trace back through the updates you’ll see a remarkable amount of solo energy and effort going into this endeavour — take a look at update 15 from February, at the evolution of the owl from one set of initial drawings to a more recent version requiring a look back and update of past drafts. The constant reiteration, review, amendment, replacement is a core part of any such endeavour, in my case, reviewing and re-reviewing 72,000 words, in the case of Mr. Meyer, endless versions of the pictures in addition to the whittling down of the words to a core spine — the difficulty of reduction is oft-underestimated.
There’s a mass propaganda campaign around the ‘do it yourself’ value of modern technology; a way of selling more stuff via exploitation of individuals’ desire to create. It doesn’t ever dwell on the hard work involved in a do it yourself effort whether promoting a band, or in the case of Cuthbert was Bored, mailing out a couple hundred copies of a book by hand, extensive work even after the pleasurable part (drawing, painting, playing, writing, whatever…) is done. The costs too are underrated, the very pleasant letter from Uli that accompanies my copy of the book (plus calendar and postcards!) adds up Scanning Artwork (£1,250), printing costs (£6,400), KickStarter fee plus Amazon fees (£1,215), shipping to backers (£1,200), book designer (£1,000) on top of several other smaller sums resulting in a total of £12,165. Incredible.
There’s a significant degree of worship paid to ‘the ones who make it’; far less to the purer energy of those who maybe won’t sell a million or have a name in lights but who strive for something because they can (and there really is no reason anyone can’t.) On that level, I’d like to salute and simultaneously toast Mr. Uli Meyer for his work on Cuthbert was Bored and, if I may, I’d like to urge you to consider contributing to him via KickStarter or by buying a copy of the book on Amazon — I have my copy here on my desk, I think it’s beautifully prepared and I can see the work that has gone into this and it’ll keep me company for a while on a grey day in London, something whimsical and skilful to while away time.
Here’s my copy of the book — and strewth, it really is beautifully produced and the artwork is stunningly detailed, just been flicking through, love the cover inside with the pencil (ink?) outlines of Cuthbert — plus my calendar and cards all on my desk this evening. Thanks Uli, we’ve never met but I think you know my friend Inga, and you’ve just made my weekend better.
Doesn’t matter what it is, put some blood into each day. Do something.