Random Giving

I don’t give money to charity very often. I have given, and still do give, an awful lot of time to good causes. Over the last ten years I’ve volunteered with several high profile organisations, as well as some smaller ones too. I was a Beaver Scout Leader with the Scout Association, a Samaritan and a volunteer at the Youth Hostel Association’s Doit4Real summer camp programme. I’ve made films with an anti-bullying charity, decided who should get money to do something amazing in their community and helped primary school children with their reading.

Today, for a change, I’ve pledged money for a good cause on Kickstarter.

It all started when I was browsing Twitter, as I do every day, when someone I follow ( @NikaHarper ) tweeted that she’d read several great blogs today. She posted links and I ended up reading about someone I don’t know, about their birthday, and about their hope that readers of the post will support a Kickstarter project.

if you’re feeling abundant, or lost, or bewildered, or generous, or disconnected…please go to Kickstarter and back something crazy and random……….just go out and…back anything. help an artist. connect your wallet directly to some sort of positive creation out there.

(amandapalmer.net)

It doesn’t matter which one, that wasn’t the point (though some suggestions were provided) and I thought, what the hey, I don’t do things like this very often, let’s do it.

So I hopped on over to Kickstarter and searched for projects in my local area. That’s when I came across this lovely project called The Boo Puppet Festival 2014, who doesn’t love story telling, puppets and children? (Well, some people don’t, but I don’t suppose many of them will be reading this.)

I pledged £5. It’s not a lot, but it’s £5 more than they had a few minutes ago. It’s £5 closer to their £1000 goal. It’s £5 closer to helping children and their families to enjoy puppetry from the UK and Europe without having to pay a penny. There are paid events running alongside, but due to funding cuts in local government, amazing projects like these are having to make cuts and not host free events – or find more creative ways to raise money.

The best thing about the project that I stumbled upon is that if they reach their £1000 goal the Tempest Trust will match it, meaning £5 actually becomes £10 and that’s even more money towards this wonderful cause.

So maybe this post will inspire you to do it too, even if all you can give is £1, $1 or €1. There’s a good cause out there wanting funding; small organisations, local people, hoping for someone to help them be creative and do something wonderful.

It’s always a risk with crowdfunding because you never know if a project will succeed in achieving its goal, but if it does, if their project gets funded and the money goes out of your account, then you will forever be able to remember that random giving and the part you played.

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Metaphor Challenge

I’ve been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month (April), which is an extension of the Mothership NaNoWriMo (in November), it’s sort of another chance in the year (there’s a third, another Camp NaNo in July) to put your heart and soul into a writing project. The only difference with Camp NaNo is that you can set your own goal and break as many rules as you like.

I set myself a goal of 20,000 words. Unfortunately the short story I planned to write doesn’t stretch that far. So instead I opted for writing shorter short stories (around 1k) with the help of a book called The Five-Minute Writer (Margret Geraghty). It has many writing exercises that can be done in roughly five minutes (duh!) which makes it a great starting point for short stories. I’ve not been sticking entirely to the brief of each exercise, but it’s been a great springboard.

One exercise wasn’t really the kind of exercise that could be turned into a story – which is why I’m blogging about it. It involved creating metaphors which, in this circumstance, are about life. An exercise that has made me realise just how cynical I can be – anything lacking in cynicism was an accident.

Here are the ten metaphors (I do realise that actually these are similes, but the book told me to write them like this) I created:

1. Life is like a brand new book, filled with potential; sometimes it goes well, other times you realise it’s a piece of crap.

2. Life is like a lamp; one minute everything is perfect and glowing, the next it’s like something has popped and you’re plunged into darkness.

3. Life is like a keyboard; some keys get used more than others and no matter how hard you try to coordinate both hands, the music still comes out terribly.

4. Life is like a doorknob; you can turn and turn it but if the door’s locked, you’re never going to get far.

5. Life is like breakfast; it’s really important to experience it regularly, but people so often give it a miss.

6. Life is like a pair of curtains; when you’re born you don’t really care if they’re open, when you’re a teenager you’d rather close them and when you’re elderly you wish you could open and close them at will, but are too frail to do so.

7. Life is like a sewing machine; in the beginning you don’t really know what you’re doing and make a lot of mistakes. When you’re older you think you know better but really you just got better at ignoring the errors.

8. Life is like a backpack; it’s meant to carry the most important things, but somehow always gets filled with useless rubbish.

9. Life is like a window; it starts out squeaky clean until one day it gets so dirty that you can’t even remember a time when it was once clean.

10. Life is like a pair of glasses; they make you see things clearly, but half the time you can’t even remember where you left them.

If anyone fancies trying out a similar metaphor/simile challenge, just let me know and I’ll give you more details on the exact exercise.