Contrary to popular belief, sometimes I do have a plan.
One of the reasons why I think I had such a hard time getting over Kelly’s death is that I vowed that she would not be forgotten, and the way I wanted to memorialize her was by creating a non-profit foundation that would raise money to help support causes she believed in. However, back in 2005 I knew that I wasn’t ready to start or manage something like that as a full-time effort because I knew I didn’t have the kinds of skills one needs to do that sort of thing.
I discovered the hard way that I’m not a good manager of people when I get overwhelmed, so that’s been one of the things I’ve been focusing on correcting through therapy and tons of self-examination. I also know that I have a terrible habit of procrastination, so I applied for a job as the news blogger for Movie Make-out so that I would get into the habit of forcing myself to write three times a week, even when there’s very little interesting news to report.
My day job has me working almost 12 hours per day without overtime, which I do mostly willingly because I know that the work I do is important to my boss because if I don’t do it, it won’t get done and thus she can’t earn a living. Though my day job, I’m learning flexibility, how to prioritize, when to shut up and just do the work, and when to say to my boss, “I know I’m having a problem doing XXX; can I get some guidance from you please?”
I keep telling myself that every hour I spend at the office past the normal quitting time is an hour well-spent because I am learning how to be a better admin or executive assistant. If I can be a better assistant, then I can learn how to run a business because I have already begun to help my boss run hers.
Learning by doing… that was Kelly’s way. No one ever taught her how to create websites; she just did it, and made it look effortless. No one taught her how to get writers from all four U.S. timezones and some international countries to collaborate on a shared project; she just dug her heels in and did it, and if deadlines were missed, she didn’t stress out too much… in public at least.
I’m lucky in that when I took over the reins for managing the first Smut Peddler publication in 2003, I had the support of most of the members of the Sequential Tart message board and its readers who themselves were also comics creators. Because they wanted it to happen, it made it easier for me to get submissions and finished art in on schedule. When we went over budget for the covers to volume 2, we got the money we needed because they wanted the project to be completed.
But I really don’t know how much of a demand there would be if I created a booklet like Smut Peddler to be sold either on my blog, through Lulu.com, or at comics conventions and ‘zine fests, with all the money raised going to specific causes such as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, children’s literacy programs, gay and lesbian rights organizations or the American Cancer Society (of course).
See, my plan is this:
There are several things that Kelly was known for as a writer. She loved writing fantasy stories a la Tolkein, loved stories that looked at the humanity involved in being a mutant superhero, loved underused and little-loved characters, and especially had a perverse love for a character trope known as the Mary Sue. (Yes, Kelly created the original Mary Sue Appreciation Society; yes, both she [under her first husband’s name] and I are quoted in this paper that was presented at the San Diego American Culture Association conference in March 1999.)
What I would like to do is to release one book a year filled with original art, short stories, and poems written to a theme. I’d commission the covers or key illustrations to be done by artists who wouldn’t mind doing this kind of work for this kind of charity.
I’d probably release each yearly volume for a limited time as a print-on-demand product, because my apartment is too small to house a bunch of books and I want to keep the overhead low. Yes, I’d buy the ISBNs myself.
And yes, at the end of 365 days of selling, the total amount of profit would be donated directly to the charity, all in Kelly’s name.
I can’t think of a better way to honor a friend’s memory, can you?