I don’t recall when exactly, whether it was before or after we arrived in the Galapagos, but I remember asking Andy how weird he thought it would be if something major happened while we were on vacation. Like Americans who were abroad during September 11th. How disconnected and helpless they must have felt. How clueless we would be without phone or email.

After a quick discussion, I’m sure neither of us gave it much thought — until the early morning hours of our fifth day. Andy woke me up saying, “There’s been a massive earthquake in Japan, and now we’re under a tsunami warning.”

The National Park Service forbid anyone from going ashore and evacuated everyone already on land to higher grounds. Our entire day of activities was canceled, and we moved out to deep, open waters to wait out The Wave. For hours we were glued to the ship’s staticky TV, trying to translate reports from Japanese to Spanish to English. But understanding didn’t require words. The images were devastating, and getting worse every minute. Eventually we changed the station, left the room, tried to think about something else.

Since then, Japan has been hit with two more earthquakes, not to mention all the aftershocks, flooding, nuclear troubles, and more. Thousands are dead; thousands more homeless, penniless, starving. The only thing more amazing than the destruction they have suffered is the outpouring of support they have received.

In December, with the help of readers and friends who spread the word, TWENTY-SOMEWHERE and “The Eraser” raised over $100 worth of proceeds for the It Gets Better Foundation. Now in April, I’m donating all proceeds to the Red Cross relief efforts for Japan. Hopefully we can raise as much if not more.

(Note: The stories have nothing to do with Japan, but as of right now they’re the only revenue stream I’ve got.)

My absolute favorite thing about the online writing community is their generosity. Whether helping to critique a query letter, or just reaching out to offer support during a difficult time, I’ve been astounded by how caring everyone is. So I’d also like to recognize a few other fundraising efforts for Japan, all of which have root in the writing community.

Current (as of this posting):

  • Pirene’s Fountain is planning to sponsor an anthology of poems, flash fiction, essays, etc. about what is going on in Japan. Interested submitters can make a statement, show love and support, speak about Japan’s importance to the world, its culture, loss, recovery, whatever they wish. Paste in body of email to pirenepublisher (at) gmail.com, along with an idea for a title and brief bio. Deadline: November 1, 2011. Any/all proceeds will go toward relief efforts.
  • KidLit4Japan is a children’s and YA literature auction to benefit the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This is the final week!!
  • The 2:46 Quakebook project started with a tweet. Now it’s a rich collection of essays, artwork and photographs submitted by indivdiuals around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it. Sales from their cover poster alone have reached over $15,000. The book is available on Amazon.
  • Added 4/19: Author Barbara G. Tarn is giving 100% of her earnings on Barb & Masayo’s Stories to the Japanese illustrator she collaborated with.
  • Added 4/19: Stories for Sendai is accepting submissions for their anthology to benefit Japan. They are looking for works that show the strength of the human spirit. Deadline is May 15th.

Closed (as of this posting):

Les wrote a lovely post on Japan and listed some more relief efforts there. So did Amanda. I’m sure there are many more writers and bloggers who want to help — and please, if you know of any or are doing so yourself, let me know! I would be happy to add to the list.

My humble contribution pales in comparison to some of these efforts, but I believe that every bit counts. I’m sure the people of Japan do, as well.

13 responses to “My humble contribution to Japan”

  1. Les Avatar

    Very cool… I’m glad so many people were able to help.

  2. vp chandler Avatar

    Thanks for the insightful and moving post. Glad to hear that people haven’t forgotten Japan and they are trying to help. :)

  3. Sherrie Petersen Avatar

    I’m always blown away by how much the writing community does to help the greater community. I already own Twenty-Somewhere, but I’ll buy The Eraser just so I can support your effort!

  4. Meghan Ward Avatar

    Kristan – that’s awesome that you’re proceeds from Twenty-Something to Japan! I gave directly to the Red Cross, but all your links are making me want to donate more. A friend of mine has been posting about BakeSale4Japan, too, but I must guiltily admit I haven’t checked it out yet.

  5. Sarah Wedgbrow Avatar

    Thanks for bringing all of this to my attention. I was vaguely aware of the writing community’s efforts via twitter. Thank you for donating your ebook revenue to the Red Cross. Keeping the dialogue open about Japan will keep it in people’s minds and hearts. They are going to need help for a very long time. xx

  6. Joelle Avatar

    I think it’s wonderful that you are donating your proceeds to the relief effort in Japan. Before I donated I thought “how can just my five or ten bucks help anyone?” But if 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, etc. people donate ‘just’ 5 or ten buck then it really does add up fast.

  7. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks, and thanks for stopping in!

    You are a dear. :)

    You’ve already been generous, no guilt necessary!

    Yeah, it’s so not even about the money, is it? Sigh. But like you said (not in this comment but to me in person), they’re a strong people. They will get through this. Not unchanged, but unbroken.

    Exactly! It’s so true. Yay for math! ;)

  8. Sonja Avatar

    As everyone always says, every little bit helps. (Not that your bit will be particularly little, but you know what I mean.) Kudos to you for making the effort!

  9. Rachele Alpine Avatar

    Great idea…that’s so generous of you to do that. I just bought a copy of twenty-something! As soon as the semester is over for my MFA program, I’ll get to it! :)

  10. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks, Rachele!

  11. Barb Avatar

    My humble contribution is giving all earning to the Japanese artist on Barb&Masayo stories:
    Also check Stories for Sendai set up by JC Martin with the help of Michelle Davidson Argyle – they’re still open to submissions:

    1. Kristan Avatar

      That’s great, Barb! I’ll add those to the list.

  12. […] are slowly getting better, but they still need help. Kristan here has a good list of things to do to help Japan. Or you can buy Barb&Masayo’s Stories, all […]