Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Gertee - Home for Life" 2010 Book Promo Tour

I started this plan last year but was unprepared to do it. Not the least of the glitches was the fact that I had no book yet. So, here we go again. I'm taking both my book and my skills on the road. I want to build gertees in homeless camps across America and give building seminars along the way. It matters a lot to me that I get out there and reconnect withpeople, see what's real, and maybe in some small way I can inspire alternatives to the "if I lose my house I'll die" syndrome.

I'm planning to start in Anchorage then head for Seattle. I think a week in each city should be enough time to contact contractors, churches, homeless orgs, newspapers, TV, bookstores , and others who may all help us find the space, the materials, and the interest. I'd love to put one up in front of every Food Bank.. but I'd also like to build insulated models fit for year round living. If we can build a 30' in Seattle that would be a perfect traveling road show tent. I think our evenings will be best spent making music, slam poetry, and sharing bread, libations and ideas with the people we meet. I'll really need to make money to make this happen, so I'm working hard to make the book accessible and thoughtful and going for mass market paperback distrbution. I want to take lots of tape and produce a documentary at the end of the experience.

Please let me know if you have ideas, suggestions, contributions, etc. I'm gonna need a lot of help to pull this off. Last year I got a couple nice invites to stay with people, I remember one gal in San Francisco whose email and contact info I have since lost. I don't really want to stay with people in their homes, I think I'll find a cheap used van or truck and make camps. I can pack a small gertee to live in on the top racks. No matter how cold it gets down there it won't seem like it's that cold to me. :) So, I will need spaces to set up camp. I will also need to adjust to a cell phone, and I hate phones so much it's one of my personal hurdles to modern life.

It was so peaceful here last night. I did some dishes, put a couple minis on etsy, found old friends on facebook, filled my woodboxes, practiced the guitar, unthawed things that were stored, and sewed on my fur blanket which is over half finished now. Everytime I thought about the gertee tour I cracked up laughing at the idea of me actually leaving my sanctuary and going into the most depressed places in the US. No wonder I stopped writing the book last year. This book is going to change my life in ways I can't imagine... and it's not fear that blocks me.. it's contentment in my current situation. I have so little in the way of food, drink and convienences, but I love my rustic little space in Camp Redington and I have healed myself here. Learning all the terrible things about globalism and the planned wrecking of the US economy knocked the wind right out of me. I've come 6 long years away from reading, studying and writing letters all night, going to meetings, posting flyers on my fence, and walking back and forth to the Seattle Dawson attorneys with copies of my hard won FOIAs. I never want to go back to being that flipped out and driven... but I have to find some drive to get this going.

I'm really looking forward to face meeting the friends I have made through the ACL and seeing my old friends who knew me before, as Nordica used to say, I took on the whole US government. I was so depressed winter 2002 when I went camping at John's pond in Hannsville, working like mad on the timelines for the lawyers, almost starving to death before my friend Patty made me come stay at her house in Kent. Wyoming was a grand interlude, but by the time we returned to Anchorage in 2005, I was lost. It wasn't until I came to the Basin in 2006 that I was able to actually finish 2020: Our Common Destiny. I camped here for that winter in a freezing wall tent dreaming about making gertees, and somehow my spirit for life returned. I found happiness again. Gertee, like my Nordica, saved my life. Maybe it can save others' too. I'll never know unless I take it to them.


Anonymous said...

If you come as far as Ohio we are here for you.

Anonymous said...

As we have discussed on Facebook I am not at all convinced you can actually do this without the welcoming help of Communitarians and FEMA!

Sounds a lot like Habitat for Humanity don't ya think?

sunshine unit said...

Edith, I don't see why you think we can't do it without their help. We've never had their blessings to do anything, and I can't say we ever wanted or needed it.

It's a book tour. Building gertees and giving them away to people in need is a publicity stunt to sell books, and increase awareness.

I am so excited for this. It's going to be GREAT! The thought of you leaving your sanctuary and going to the most depressed places in the country is so funny...with a cell phone strapped to your head no less. I can't wait. You want a cell phone??? I'll give you my old one and go get a Blackberry...heheh

I think Seattle is a great jumpoff point because the homeless/street culture there is really organized. After it's a success we'd have better luck in Anchorage.. I just want an excuse to bypass Anch. and go straight to Seattle, I miss it so much. :P

the tent lady said...

Ohio is definitely on my list; I want to visit McKinley's tomb. :) So thank you... very nice to know.

Edith I'm sorry if my idea sounds anything like a communitarian program. I don't think you quite understand what I'm doing. I see I need to be absolutely clear about my intent so that nobody else gets the impression I have joined forces with the devil.

This is the second time I've been asked to reassure someone I'm not becoming a communitarian. What have you seen in my ten years of writing that indicates to you that I am predisposed to falling for communitarian traps?

Why are you insisting I promote my 2 specific anticommunitarian books as well as gertee? This is a business tour designed to sell books and give me a chance to visit with my countrymen, not a political campaign to "awaken the masses". Political awakenings are to me like spiritual awakenings, they happen when we are ready.

I will no more push gertee on anyone than I will my antithesis, the anticommunitarian manifesto. And, maybe i'm just being sensitive, but as a "homeless" person since 2002, I somewhat resent the implication that I have to do my book tour in any other way than what's best for our tiny publishing house. The only way the first two ACL books can remain in circulation, and current, is IF ACL Books makes money. Publishing houses are worse than restaurants for failures, and there's a reason for that. The fact that we have managed to keep up with book orders is amazing.. even with all the donations it's still hard. We don't have a staff, I write ALL the copy, Nord does all the editing, layout, graphics, websites, printers, bookkeeping and mailings. We do all this in a tent in one of the coldest spots in the USA and you're going to advise us on how to run our book tour?

You probably weren't aware of the research I did during Katrina, I wrote 3 topic pages about it and included a lot of challenges to FEMA in one. I asked several times WHY FEMA didn't offer yurts as options and I researched all the land for sale near New Orleans that I could find online. I will ask the same questions over and over throughout my gertee tour.

In fact, I'm just going to go around America asking lots of stupid questions. :)

Bobby Garner said...

Niki here are some things you may want to consider.

Contractors are licensed and are thus bound to support the communitarian municipal code.

Churches are 501c3 faith-based communitarian organizations. "By meeting the needs of the community, the community will take care of the church." - Secret of Church Growth".

Homeless organizations are funded by HUD, NGO's and PPP's. "These grants are awarded on a competitive basis to local organizations that serve the homeless and try to help them through dire straits," - $7.68 Million to N.M. Homeless Org's.