In case you weren’t aware, I’m honored to be one of the authors in a shared world anthology known as Walk the Fire. It’s a Kickstarter funded project by John Mierau and David Sobkowiak, and as of right now, it is 84% funded with three days to go. Before I jump up on my soapbox and have at it, I’d like to ask you to head on over to the Kickstarter page and kick in a few dollars to get the project funded.
If that mighty example of left-handed salesmanship didn’t do it for you, I have a few more things to say.
First off, I wouldn’t be involved if I didn’t like the concept. The “shared world” part means that John and David have created a grand sandbox in which to play. They have a world concept and a list of authors. Each author writes within the concept to come up with a tapestry of narrative within the universe of Walk the Fire. If the first anthology is any indication, this is a very cool way to build a story with many voices and interpretations on a theme. I personally have about four Walk the Fire story ideas competing to be written. I suspect the many of my co-authors are way ahead of me, and I’m excited to see the results.
Next, I’m a big fan of Kickstarter. It’s brilliant. We live in tight times. The traditional methods of getting things done are no longer working to drive us forward. Corporations tend to work in tried and true pipelines. The government can’t innovate its way out of a paper bag. Finding the money to try new things is harder than ever before. Along comes Kickstarter to create an engine to finance good (and sometimes not-so-good) ideas based on the actual demand for the idea. It’s a direct line of communication between the makers and those who want the products. If you spend any time there, I can almost guarantee that you will find something you always wanted but didn’t know it, something you realize is a perfect solution to an insolvable problem, and in concert, a better vision for our future.
More broadly, I’m one of those wingnuts who believes that the core of greatness comes from innovation, not in the bland platitudes of a Presidential radio address, but in the greasy, dirt-and-sawdust-covered hands of those who actually try to make something, to fix something, to grow something from bare earth and a handful of seeds.
We swim in raging rivers of information every day. People make entire fortunes with nothing more than data and a clever algorithm to mine revenue from the stream, and that’s fine, but there will never be a replacement for actually creating something tangible, from nothing, with our own hands, with our own minds.
Make something new, and support those who do. It helps us all improve the world, and sometimes, it just feels good. I think we’re built that way.