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Letters from Proxima Thule

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Circumnavigating Fairyland
Lost Girl
Most of you know that about six months ago, justbeast was laid off. We did the responsible thing--we had enough to survive. For about six months. The Omikuji Project was a godsend, without it we would have reached the bad place long before now.

Nowhere in our calculations did we think he wouldn't have a job by June. He's never had trouble getting work. We just didn't think it was possible. That he wouldn't have even gotten an interview after sending out endless resumes? Unthinkable. But this economic situation has slammed us hard, and we aren't recovering.

I make ok money for a writer, in fact, I'm in that weird place where I couldn't make much more with my degree in the public sector, and a combination of my savings and my income have kept us afloat this long--believe me, I've considered the slinging burgers route, but I wouldn't make enough to keep us solvent and the ferry would eat almost half my income. I've been doing better in my professional life than every before--but it's finally not enough to meet our bills and our rent. We moved to the island in the best economic situation of our lives and now we can't afford to move, or stay.

So we sat down last night and did numbers. And the raw fact is, we don't have enough for rent next month, we are behind on all our bills, and in a couple of days, we won't have any money for food.

As bad as things have been at times, in my adult life, I've never been in this situation. I don't know what to do that I haven't done, I've been working constantly trying to make enough money to survive. The depression level in this house of late has been truly epic.

I hate doing this. I hate asking for help. I don't want you all to think that I'm selfish--there are people so much more worse off than me--or that I'm lazy or entitled.

But I need help.

I can't bear to simply put up a donate button. It's not in me. I don't want charity--I want to keep us afloat. I want to trade something wonderful for a way to keep us alive. And last night I had a thought, a bolt of lightning thought. What I can do is this.

Over the course of the Palimpsest tour, people asked me one thing more than anything else.

What about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland? Is it a real book? Will you write it?

And I said no. It's impossible, a YA book that is a book-within-a-book in a deeply non-YA novel. I even said no to a very sweet six year old.

Starting Monday, I will start posting chapters of a full-length novel version of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I will be writing it in real time, posting every Monday. It will be free to read--but please know that the sheer calories to make my brain create it require funding, and I would very much appreciate your support. Pay whatever you like for it, whatever you think it's worth. It's kind of like an old-fashioned rent party. There's a button at the bottom of the post to start things out.

This is a book about a little girl named September who gets herself a ticket to Fairyland on the back of The Green Wind and a somewhat cranky Leopard. There she discovers the realm of the capricious Marquess and the dangers of the Perverse and Perilous Sea. It is going to be something else.

And yes, you can read it to your kids. This is my first available YA novel, and everyone can read it for free.

justbeast and I are getting the website up today. I'm writing like crazy over the weekend. It will go up on Monday morning. I'm trying not to cry or freak out or shake while I type.

Until then, there's other things--you can sign up for The Omikuji Project, or buy ebooks. (Thank you so much to those of you who already have.) You can spread the word about the Fairyland project. I know we're all hurting right now and no one has very much, but this is the path I can walk to be able to take care of my family, to keep us alive, in our house, fed. This is what I can do. Thank you, to all of you who have supported me in the past, and continue to do so--you are my tribe and my village. If there is anything I can do that you would buy or pay for, please tell me. When Fairyland is underway, I'll be starting up a (reasonably priced, I promise) writers' workshop online.

I love you all. I wish the world were different than it is right now. I wish I didn't have to make this post. I hope, at least, this book that so many of you have asked for brings some happiness in a strange, dark time.

EDIT: there is now a raffle/auction community to help out: adoptingcat . Thank you all for everything you've sent--I'm in awe and thunderstruck, you are my mad fairy court and I love you.

The wheel does turn, dear Cat. It always turns.

Email me.

Please don't take this the wrong way, because I'm not trying to attack you or anything like that. That being said:

I hate it when people use phrases like "the wheel turns", because it isn't actually true. While in a broad sense life can be viewed as cyclical and luck tends to even out over time, sometimes the cycle drops you off a damn cliff and that's that. Nothing on a cosmic levels owes you an ice cream cone after you scrape your knee. Things just fall apart sometimes.

That doesn't mean that you can't have hope, but I feel that it's counterproductive to find that hope in a pointless aphorism like "the wheel always turns". If you're lucky, the wheel turns when you push it.

Your Name Here (Anonymous) Expand

We're thinking about you both. I wish we had more paying gigs to steer in your direction. :(

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I can't guarantee that what I can pay every week will be much, but this is so brilliant (and so necessary by the sound of things) that there's no way I won't a) read and donate and b) propagate this info here on LJ and over at my writing blog.

Sending you the good thoughts, crossing all applicable digits, etc.

You certainly don't need to donate every week! I would never ask that.

you. have. not. failed.

minor setback.

we got you, baby.

Just wait until Pope sees this.
See what I'm sayin'?

Our Pope is a very magical Pope.

I wish your circumstances were better, but I also hope that when you look back on this project you won't be thinking "look at what I was forced to do to get along" but "maaaaan, I should have thought of that sooner". If you don't think of it as thinly-veiled charity, it can be a tremendously revitalizing thing to have this kind of exchange with your audience... think about the difference between doing a live reading and reading to yourself.

I know I must seem like the queen of grubbing self-promotion with my Paypal buttons, but I was doing my online writing thing for a couple of years before I finally gave in and put one up. I thought, "I want to be paid for what I'm doing... but I don't want to beg." What got me over it was realizing that this is how you get paid for art, when you're dealing directly with the audience. You pass the hat. You rattle the cup. You prop open the violin case at your feet, leaving people to scratch their heads and wonder how you got your guitar to fit in there.

I feel like I've been lecturing you for the past little bit and I don't want to do that too much, so I'll just say if you want some advice on anything, just ask.


We artists tend to totally devalue ourselves when it comes to monetary compensation. It's BS. Artists deserve to be paid for their work. For the effort in learning their craft, for the experience of working at their craft, for the hours spent on their craft, and for the product itself.

No one tells lawyers or landscape architects (of which I am one) that we should give our services away for free.

There is no reason that musicians, sculptors, painters, writers, etc should either.


Yessssssssssss. I love this idea to pieces. PIECES, I say! I hate the circumstances around it but I can't wait to read it.

Oh, darling. Anything for you.

alexandraerin has offered her fandom goodies if they buy ebooks, as well.

I saw that, and it's amazing.

I hope that you will lend a little of your Pope abilities to spreading this around?

Cat, I started this community: adoptingcat.

If you like it, and you could make little lj buttons to spread the word, that would rock.

First other member! W00t! :D

I'm going to check up on my finances and see what I can do. Thanks for putting a comm together so quick. :)


You might add links to Fictionwise as well as the Kindle editions of those books. (I'd buy them, but, er, already did...except for Palimpsest, which I somehow missed getting earlier. I've corrected that error.)

They are not listed on fictionwise or Kindle, except the Bantam ones, which I am not in control of.

Of course I could never let you guys down, although I may not be able to give more than a couple drops in the bucket. ;_; (Damn college expenses.) I'll check over my accounts today so I can find out what I'm able to do, and them I'll do it. :)

Believe in the me who believes in you!! [/anime-ref] XD


I deeply appreciate those drops!

Telling my friends about your ebooks as you speak. *hug*

(Deleted comment)
Personally I am broke and jobless, but I am spreading the word. I really wish I could do more.
My thoughts are with you.

Edited at 2009-06-11 06:09 pm (UTC)

that is plenty, thank you.

Your Name Here (Anonymous) Expand
I've donated what I can right away, and would like to sign up to Okimuji but am wondering about international postage -- should I just go the email route? The beautiful objects sound so tempting -- what would postage to UK run, do you know?

Also, can Dmitri email me offline with his CV? I hire programmers not infrequently for projects for various web-based data services. melanie dot f dot wright at gmail dot com.

It's $120 for the year for international postage, or an extra $2 a month. And yes I'll pass it along!


You should ask everyone who made collaborative Palimpsest art to repost this.

And I 'spect we're putting it in the advert circular, y/y?