The last two months have flown by. My time was devoured by homeschooling, freelance projects, a month-long bout of walking pneumonia (b’bye, November!) and continued work on the anthology I’m editing, Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self. It’s this latter item I’m going to share with you today. First, become familiar with this button, as it will show up again later in the post:
For those of you not yet in the know, the anthology is a collection of fifty letters written by women from around the world to their thirteen-year-old selves. The project is a culmination of everything I love in this life: it focuses on beautiful storytelling by women of many cultures, religions and sexual identities from many countries across the globe; weaves advice, history and emotion through its pages; and relies on the written word to be honest and sincere. It also deeply involves my daughter, as the book is meant to be a gift for her when she turns thirteen. Additionally, because I care deeply about educating and empowering girls, the book will serve as a guidebook for all young women entering adulthood.
Stories are incredibly diverse and cover many topics, including: HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases; the female body (including the oft-ignored clitoris!), depression, suicide, cutting, poverty, happiness, following dreams, never giving up, beauty, ethnorelativism, sexual identity, body dysmorphia, genocide, war and recovery, and conservation and world stewardship.
Of course, there are many projects and books that involve individuals giving advice to their teen selves. They are all wonderful. This one is different in that it truly is meant to look through a global lens: letters have been written by women born from locations as diverse as the Amazonian rainforest, post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Uganda and Peru as well as some of the world’s largest mega-cities. The book doesn’t look only to celebrities and persons in privileged positions for advice, but to women from all walks of life. An important message in the book is that ALL STORIES HAVE MEANING… NO STORY IS TOO SMALL.
For a writer, travel blogger, mother and feminist, editing Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self is a dream come true. Since mid-August, I’ve worked tirelessly on the project by putting together a website, forming an online community, and spending over 200 hours writing women, reading and editing letters, and doing research. While my work on this book amounts to just over 16 hours a week, I’ve decided to throw myself full-time into finishing the first draft of the anthology so that I can respect contributors by finishing in a timely manner (by April, 2014).
To be able to work longer hours and do what it takes to cross the finish line, I’ve put together a crowdsourcing campaign on indiegogo. Please, please, visit the page, read about the great perks you can receive, and consider making a contribution! No amount is too small, and ALL amounts are appreciated:
In short, while I apologize for being an absent blogger, I think you’ll understand that sometimes life throws us for a loop. In my case, walking pneumonia- which meant long days on the couch instead of exploring New York City- was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to slow down, sleep as I’ve never slept in my life, and prepare myself- body and soul- for the work it will take to complete Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self. I do hope you’ll all take a look at the campaign. Even if you’re not in the position to make a financial contribution, there are some ways you can still help:
- Getting the word out to make some noise about this campaign.
- Using the Indiegogo share tools to share with your Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.
- Joining the anthology’s Facebook page.
- Giving an interview or a guest post on your blog about the project.
- Sending good vibes.
Love and light,