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):
- YA powerhouse Maureen Johnson put together an amazing raffle of signed books and other prizes, and in less than a day she raised over $6000 for Shelterboxes for Japan.
- Authors for Japan auctioned close to 200 items and raised around $20,000.
- Ditto Genre for Japan.
- Writers for the Red Cross surpassed the $30,000 mark, and included several of my fellow Writer Unboxed contributors.
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.