Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 2 Update

Hello, everyone!

Eat: MALS final project
The response to my initial request for submissions has been slightly overwhelming. I've gotten some truly stunning stories and artists interested in being involved in this project, along with a lot of really encouraging and helpful emails about how to properly crowd-fund this book, offers to help with the back end management, and just all kinds of wonderful feedback and word of mouth. I can't tell you all how much I appreciate it.

(Art is from my Masters final project: EAT, an auto biography on my struggles with ED)

To reiterate, you can find the submission guidelines and general gist of the project here:

There's also a Twitter hashtag dedicated to it: #MonstrousProject, and you can additionally find me on Tumblr under MonsterTeaTime and Twitter under TiredFairy.

As I mention in my project post, aside from wanting this project to be a diverse, meaningful, and thoughtful exploration of the issue of body image for women/girls...I also want this project to be pay its contributors and showcase different perspectives on the topic. I have story pitches ranging from exploring eating disorders, aging, gender identity/expression, adolescence/puberty, fathers wanting their daughters to have healthy body acceptance, etc. and I'm sure I'll be getting more as the the deadline of December 1st gets closer. I definitely want to be make sure the experiences in this book are as not limited to white/cisgender/straight experiences. This is open to any and all struggles with body image, not just the privileged.. Although the audience may seem "limited", namely focusing on girls and women, I suspect these stories will be more universally relatable than some folks may think.

Eat: MALS final project pg 1

I've gotten a few questions about why this project is not tackling stories about boys/men and their body image. It's my opinion that the male audience is catered to a great deal of the time in a lot of pop culture and storytelling mediums, and all themed collections put limits or restrictions on what they're exploring. So I think it's fair to define this project as for girls and women in a way that's not exclusionary, but is specific. This project is already tackling a pretty wide concept of "body image" as it is. If the audience focus concerns you I encourage you to tackle a project about men and their bodies for men. I'd all love to see that and I would certainly support it!

This week my goal is to continue raising awareness about this project, post a few example pieces, and wade through all this Kickstarter/Indiegogo information so I can pick the right platform to launch. I'm also in the process of pitching the project to a few publishers, since I'd like this to be in more than just a digital format.

As a note: I'm moving to Germany next month so it's not likely that I'll be able to start a funding campaign until afterwards. Hence why the submission deadline is December 1st, so I'll have time to get work in, properly review it and set up a reasonable time frame for final submissions and publication. Books take a long time, if you're going to do it right, and I'd rather overestimate how much time it will take than underestimate it and be unable to deliver when I say I will.

So please keep passing the word along, ask me any questions here or at: monsterteatime at gmail dot com, and continue sending in those pitches!

Eat: MALS final project panel selection

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monstrous: Let's Talk About Body Parts - Project Details

MONSTROUS: Let's Talk About Body Parts
Brain Goblins and "ED" = eating disorder, art exercise

This weekend I posted a sort of vague tweet about wanting to do a collection for girls and women that explores our experiences with body image. It's a very personal subject to me, a lifelong struggle, and an issue I see effecting all the women I know to one degree or other. I've wanted to do something about it, something creative and productive, something honest and meaningful, for a long time. I just wasn't sure if it was something anyone else would want to contribute to, read, or otherwise be interested in. Well, I'm sure now. I've received quite a bit of interest in just the initial concept and received some utterly heartbreaking emails that make it that much more apparent that it's a necessary endeavor.

Which brings me to the project: MONSTROUS. 

The title is significant on a few levels and I picked it because it encapsulates, I think, the complicated and often destructive relationship women have with their bodies and the concept of "beauty"vs. worth in our culture. This is due to a lot of things, such as the fact that our bodies are treated as public property to be judged, critiqued, and regulated. It can be as "harmless" as Photoshopping, as serious as basic body autonomy. It's a difficult maze to navigate and we all need an outlet for those thoughts and feelings. Because I'm a writer and artist I work my own issues out through storytelling quite a bit. I supsect that there are lot of others who have something to say about this topic as well, and even more who could benefit from reading about the struggles of others and discovering they aren't alone. 

Okay! On to the project details: 


Project type: collection/anthology

Theme: The relationship between girls/women and their bodies through the lens of storytelling in different mediums and genres.

Looking for: Prose/comics/poems/art

Genre:  fiction (horror, sci-fi, fantasy, etc), auto-bio, non -fiction

For: Girls/Women

Open to: contributors of any age and gender, on the general theme of “body image & girls/women”. This includes trans/genderqueer contributors, POC contributors and related stories and experiences.

Purpose: Let girls/women know they are not alone when they struggle with their body and our narrowly defined, “beauty” obsessed culture. Positive overall message, but, the stories themselves can be in any genre and be difficult/upsetting. Focus is on being meaningful explorations of theme.

Stories can be about: Any body image related topics, from eating disorders to self-harm to sexual identity. Not limited to these topics, so stories will be evaluated individually.

What elements to avoid/won’t be accepted: Size or weight numbers, instructions on how to restrict/binge/self-harm. Obviously nothing that promotes sexism, homophobia, racism, fatphobia, or transphobia (stories may address said issues, however). Will also not accept stories that demonize ANY body type. No “real women have..” malarkey. This project will inevitably have triggering elements, but we can avoid giving people a destructive how-to guide.

Important note: The book audience will likely skew “older” because I think in order for this to be a truly meaningful conversation about the theme, it will need to be open to addressing difficult subject matter via possibly graphic language and visuals.  Therefore stories do not need to be for “all ages”.  Story content will be considered on an individual basis.

The things I don't yet know: Funding. I want to pay contributors AND get this printed, so funding will be incredibly important. Obviously there are crowd-funded sources like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to consider, not to mention hopefully finding a willing publisher for the final piece. If I go the Kickstarter route I'll need some sample work to show, a video, and help with spreading the word. Before I can do that, though, I will need to figure out a timeline for publication that makes sense and a whole mess of other things. Suggestions in this regard would be very welcome.

I would also like to find a way to make this project available to organizations like the National Eating Disorder Association, and have a digital version. I'd like to keep the cost of the actual book down so it can be read as many people as possible. So I'm definitely looking for help on the backend.

How to Pitch to MONSTROUS

Submit to: Use MONSTROUS Submission and YOUR NAME in the subject.

Submission will be open until Dec 1st, 2012.

Submissions: 1 paragraph story “pitch”.  Include number of pages, genre, format, issue addressing, and brief bio. Must include full name and email. Sample of script writing/prose/art preferred (though not more than a page for writing, and a link to an online portfolio/example is fine for art).

Being previously published is not required, but pitches will be vetted for quality and thematic relevance.

DO NOT send final pieces. Pitches that have been accepted will be contacted for final work.

Story/piece requirements:
Poem – one page
Prose- 2, 4, or 6 pages (even number only)
Comics- 2, 6, or 8 pages (even numbered only)
Art pieces- color and b/w (one piece per artist unless otherwise decided)