I have this big, crazy dream.
I’ve had it for a while.
Due to my experiences… as a creative creature who lost sight of herself (for many years) – and then – found herself again… I have wanted – for a long time – to use my specific talents and gifts – in helping and encouraging others (whether kids, teens or adults) to EMBRACE their beautiful uniqueness and to love and accept themselves (exactly as they are right now).
And so… I wrote a poem. And (kinda like Dr. Seuss likes to do)… I illustrated it too.
Here’s a titbit (PS: read the words on each page out loud for the best effect):
“You need to stop day-dreaming! Work hard at school!
You must pass your tests and obey all the rules!
Study your maths and your accountancy
You’ll need them one day in a job – wait and see!”
“Stop playing those games! Stop fooling around!
Stop laughing so loudly. You need to calm down!”
“Your art’s just a hobby, your jokes are not funny
You need to pass science if you want to earn money!”
“You need to be cultured, refined and mature
and dutiful, dainty, discreet and demure.
You’ll get a good job and you’ll marry one day,
life will work out – IF you do what we say”…
And Hat started thinking:
“I’m sucking at schoolwork. I’m just getting fatter.
I’m good at the stuff that does not seem to matter.
Perhaps if I *fix* myself – all will be well,
’cause people want “normal” from what I can tell.
If I tone myself down and re-program my mind,
then I’ll be like the others… and all will be fine”
And thus, on that day, Hat resolved to reform
she would be like the rest and conform to the norm.
She tossed out her weird stuff and went on a diet,
she banished her dreams and became rather quiet.
She even threw out her collection of hats.
She stopped writing poems…
and she stopped popping rats.
Out went her artwork and prized peacock feather…
then “Hat” was abandoned…
she called herself… Heather.
Okay – so, there you go.
That was about 1 third of the book I’ve made.
My Big Dream is two-fold. Firstly – I’d like to see this poetry-picture-book published – and distributed far and wide… with the hope (and the big-fat-dream) that it will help somebody to think twice before attempting to mould themselves (or their kids) according to other people’s expectations and ideals.
The second part of my Big-Fat-Dream… (and probably the part that most excites me, because I’ve been dreaming about this for bloody ages)… is to create a unique little short-film… of this poem.
For those who don’t know… my husband is a filmmaker – and we could absolutely DO this thing (just the… uh… small issue of money – like – *uh* sorta… $40 000 USD)… Because films – and especially properly-made films… are expensive. Even here in South Africa. Ex-pen-sive.
I dream of a beautifully crafted, creative mini-film… and I would also just release it for free on the internet – with the hopes that it would inspire and encourage others to embrace their beautiful uniqueness… and stop trying to change or *fix* themselves in order to fit in.
(By the way – the book has a happy ending. A very happy ending. It’s not a sad, miserable book).
So – there you go.
I’m putting that little dream “out there”.
I kinda suck at raising money. I suck even more at ASKING for things (I even read Amanda Palmer’s book “The Art of Asking” in an attempt to cure myself of this impediment – but I still hate asking anybody for anything).
So – maybe out there – there’s somebody with a brilliant Master-Plan… who digs my little book (which would be titled “How Heather got her HAT’ness back”) – and who has a great idea on where I should take it from here.
Do I attempt to crowd-fund this thing?
Do I put a “donate” button on my website? (uh… no)
Do I brown-nose friends-in-high-places… (not that I have many of those).
Or… is this just another one of those well-meaning little projects that gets tucked away in the cupboard and kept as a cute little heirloom for my future grandkids…. (?)
Drop me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: 22nd FEB 2015:
Firstly – thank-you – to everyone who has responded (and continues to respond to) this post… and especially those who have written me personal e-mails (I have had 4 people send me POEMS in response to this – and I am utterly delighted)!!!
With your very valued feedback… here’s my current plan:
1. Finish the book (I’m close!)
2. Self-publish the book (international friends will be able to buy from Amazon or order copies from me directly. South Africans can order copies from me directly. Impatient folk – who don’t want to wait for hard copies – will be able to download a PDF from Gumroad).
3. I will focus on the book first… and worry about the film later.
Another thing that I am QUICKLY realising – is how many people are expecting this to be a children’s book. To be honest – it was originally intended as an illustrated book for grown-up’s (because later in the book, there are some very dark themes of self-abuse, etc – even though the story eventually has a happy ending. Those dark themes and some of the language I use – may not be appropriate for a children’s book)…. *BUT*… I can easily make a second kid’s version… which will still retain the message (but won’t be as… um… intense).
So – first Hatbox – is for YOU, dear reader. And especially those of you who felt squashed into moulds and boxes and systems that just never FITTED your beautiful, unique design!!
And then I’ll follow on with the Kid’s Version.
I’m going to be sending occasional e-mails out to any of you would would like to follow this bookmaking journey! Just drop me an e-mail if you want to be included…. email@example.com
X Again – a HUGE thank-you to everyone who has responded!!!! X
UPDATE: 25th MAY 2015:
Huge milestone news…. the book is just a handful of pages away from being finished – and now we’re preparing to raise the money for PRINTING this book.
If you resonate with the Hat-Story… I would be sooooo grateful if you considered backing my crowd-funding / pre-ordering campaign!… CLICK HERE to be a part of it all! Thanks a mil!!!