Friday, May 07, 2010

With a little help from my friends: How you can help tell the stories of At-Tuwani

I'm starting a new project, loyal readers, and I really want your help. Here are all of the details. If you have an questions, just drop me a line.

Help tell the stories of Palestinian nonviolent resistance!
Support Joy in writing “At-Tuwani: A Graphic Novel”

I want to write a comic book about a different kind of hero and I need your help. I’m hoping to raise the money to cover one month of living expenses so that I can work on the rough draft of a graphic novel script about the inspiring people that I have been living with for the last 2 and a half years.

Since 2007, I have been working in a small village in rural Palestine called At-Tuwani, located at the southern tip of the West Bank. In At-Tuwani, my neighbors don't have capes or superpowers, but they’re true heroes. In the midst of violence and injustice, the people of At-Tuwani are choosing the path of nonviolent resistance. The village of At-Tuwani daily faces violence from Israeli settlers living illegally in the West Bank as well as injustice at the hands of the Israeli army. I’ve been dreaming about writing a graphic novel that will let other people get to know this village. I want to tell the stories of farmers who graze sheep and harvest olives in the shadow of Israeli settlements, of kids who boss around Israeli soldiers, of women who risk arrest to remove road blocks, and normal people who live their lives with great courage. I’ve been writing and blogging about my friends in At-Tuwani since I met them. Now I’m ready to bring their story to life for a wider audience.

The stories of the people of At-Tuwani need to be told. By creating a graphic novel, I can make their lives accessible and immediate - almost as real as being there. I’ve always found graphic novels to be magical. Even though a graphic novel is simply a book-length comic, a graphic novel has the power to suck a reader into a story in a way that words alone can’t. Through realistic pictures and real dialogue, my readers will be able to see and hear the lives of Palestinians and I think that will help them understand and feel for the village of At-Tuwani. And bringing the nonviolent struggle of everyday Palestinians into the homes and hearts of people all over the world is the best way I can support my friends in At-Tuwani.

Here’s where you come in.
The first step to making this dream come true is to write the first draft of a script. Once my script is finished, I can find an artist to bring it to life and together we can begin the process of finding a publisher. Because my graphic novel will mostly be based on essays I’ve already written, I'm confident that I can make significant progress on a rough draft with a month of dedicated work. I’ve completed a detailed outline of the novel and I hope that I can finish a first draft of over half of it by the end of July. Will it be difficult? Yes. But I can’t think of a better way to take on this task. I thrive on deadlines. With you holding me accountable, I’m sure that I can make this dream a reality.

How to Donate:
$700 will cover my living expenses for a month and allow me to spend that time writing. Your donation, large or small, will make a meaningful dent in this amount. To donate, just leave me a comment with your email. I'll send you an email back with donation information. Your email will not be published. Sorry for the paranoia, but there are settlers who read this blog and I'd rather not give them any contact information for me.

I’m extremely grateful to have the support of people like you. I want to make sure that you know how grateful I am. To give you an idea of how I feel, I want to offer the following gifts to donors.

$5 or more - Receive exclusive updates about the script during my month of whirlwind writing. Be a part of the team that keeps me writing!

$10 or more - Be listed as a contributor in the print version of the graphic novel.

$25 or more - Receive a signed photograph from At-Tuwani. See the village for yourself!

$50 or more - Receive a special gift from the At-Tuwani women's cooperative. Touch and feel a little piece of women’s resistance.

$100 or more - Receive a special extended thank you in the print version of the graphic novel, a gift from the At-Tuwani women's cooperative, a signed photograph from At-Tuwani and have the chance to see the first draft of the script and offer feedback when it’s completed!

I hope that you’ll join me on this journey to tell the stories of At-Tuwani Village. Writing a rough draft is only the beginning and I plan to keep you updated as I continue to get this book finished and available to people around the world. I’m so happy to have people like you in my life.


PS: If you donate, please help me be able to send you your thank-you gift. Include your name, email address and if you choose to donate $25 or more, include your mailing address.

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