Genre for Japan (Again) (13/4/2011)

Over here, the dust has settled and the news media has largely moved on. Over in Japan the dust may have settled too, but for the people whose lives were washed away, I imagine it will be a very long time before they, too, can move on.

In the big scheme of things, the money raised by the Genre for Japan auction probably doesn’t seem like very much. I’d like to think it means more than just the money, though. Any one of us putting a hand in our pocket alone and fishing out whatever loose change we’ve got, that’s not going to make a difference, but the sum of all of us does, and for each individual, it’s a little message of support. A tiny signpost raised to say ‘I see your need. I see your suffering.’ Put aside the actual money – I see it as the difference between struggling to put your own life and those around you back together on your own, and doing it in a metaphorical stadium-of-life with millions of distant supporters cheering you on. I hope, somehow, the people whose lives have been literally washed away somehow get to hear a little of that voice.

I’d like to think it’ll mean more for those who supported the auction, either as bidders or donors, too. Some of you will be appearing in stories over the next couple of years. I hope there’s a mention in the acknowledgements of each of those characters and how they got to be there. For my own part, I’ll now be writing a short story about a dragon a girl called Lyna. I’ll be doing it for someone for whom english isn’t even their first language, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy it, and when it’s done, it’ll be online for anyone to read. Might even go looking for some art and stuff…

So here’s to you, Genre for Japan, Amanda, Louise, Jenni, Ro, Alasdair and Robert, I salute you.

2 Responses to “Genre for Japan (Again) (13/4/2011)”

  1. Stefan (Civilian-Reader) says:

    Very nicely put.

  2. Ro says:

    Thanks for your wonderful post. It’s a small amount of money in the context of the disaster, but a large amount of money compared to what any of us could have done on our own. It’s almost exactly equal to a year’s salary, for me, so I’m really pleased to have been able to raise a sum of money incalculably more than I could have dreamed of donating myself.

    I felt utterly impotent on seeing the images and hearing the news from Japan. I couldn’t imagine having my life swept away like that. I knew there was little I could do, myself, so when Amanda suggested this, I was utterly taken with the idea. No single one of us could have done anything like what we’ve managed to achieve together. We were overcome when we realised people were willing to put up really special prizes, enabling the auction to become a real event. Robert’s lovely design allowed us to present the polished feel that helped people trust our madcap idea. We also couldn’t have reached so many people if bloggers hadn’t taken up the cause and spread the word. And it all would have come to naught without the generosity and enthusiasm of the bidders, who between them raised a sum none of us could have dreamed of.

    I really hope the people who bid on the items and the people who donated feel that they were a part of something special. I know I do. I hope the person who won a year’s worth of books from Tor smiles to think of what they helped us do when each one arrives. I hope the people who will now be characters in books will enjoy not only the unique delight of their prize, but will also think of Japan, and what they did to help.

    We don’t know how the money will be spent – we leave it in the capable hands of the Red Cross – but we know it will make an impact. A little money goes a long way when people are without homes, food, jobs. We can’t help everyone who was hurt by this crisis, but we shouldn’t expect to be able to. I think the money we raised will make a great difference to the lives of a considerable number of people that none of us will ever meet.

    Thank you for your donated items, Stephen, and thank you for this post.

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