So today I was talking with my good friend Jonny and he reminded me about Emily’s GoFundMe was currently ongoing and I really hadn’t done much for it. Since I’m one of those “starving artists” type, I knew right away that I couldn’t help much financially. However, it dawned on us that I could do something even cooler (well, to some people it’s cooler, in any case).
First off, here’s a description of the absolute crap year that Emily and Charles have had in 2014:
It’s been a very rough year for my family. My husband is a disabled vet who has been struggling for years to get the disability benefits he needs, and his ailing health means that we mostly rely on my part time day job and my work as a freelance graphic designer to help make ends meet. The economy in West Virginia has not been kind to Graphic Designers (I have been laid off from multiple design jobs as companies went out of business in the area), and the best steady work that I can find currently is not full time and does not pay much. To keep costs low we rent a one bedroom apartment (Charles, me, and our son Evan) I drive a 14 year old car, and I’ve gotten quite creative with coupons. Usually between my job and my freelance work, we have managed to get by. However this year has been exceptionally rough and it’s taken its toll.
In January, my son (9 months old at the time) was kidnapped when a meth addicted man stole my car just feet from me at a gas station, on the coldest day on winter record for West Virginia. Fortunately the police rescued my son and arrested the man, but the cost of the ordeal was more than just mental as I lost many work hours. Days after this happened, there was a large chemical spill into the city’s water supply in West Virginia, turning all of our water toxic for everything except flushing the toilet, and we were forced to rely on purchasing bottled water which added more drain to our expenses. Shortly after that, Charles’s doctors discovered significant damage in both his knees on top of his other existing chronic ailments. This required multiple trips to the VA Hospital one hour drive away (x-rays, orthopedic consults, and most recently an MRI) which put another dent in our gas budget. Still, we managed to squeak by.
We have always considered ourselves a very self reliant family that strives to take care of each other, however recently, we were hit by an unexpected expense so large that there is no way we can absorb it on our own. The computer equipment we both use has completely died or is dying. One computer specifically had a catastrophic failure that took out the cooling systems, power supply, video card, processor, motherboard and RAM chips all at once. The other computer’s hardware is failing slowly, I’ve been able to essentially band-aid it, but it won’t hold out for long before I’ll need to replace parts in it too.
These computers aren’t used as personal computers, they are professional working machines that I use to do all my freelance work (everything from photo editing, web design, illustration, film editing, and animation software), and Charles runs engineering programs for college. This computer equipment has helped keep food on our table, paid bills, and kept electric from being cut off many a time. There have been many occasions where a quick commission has ensured that my son had diapers for the week, or filled my car with gas.
If I don’t have the ability to use my equipment, I am honestly not sure how we will survive.
I have never been one to ask for help with money, but I have looked at all the options and there is simply no other way but to ask for support from others. Luckily my husband is very knowledgeable in computers and can rebuild our equipment from parts ordered from Newegg.com which makes things cheaper, however we are still looking at $2500 to fix both computers after accounting for shipping costs and the percentage portion that GoFundMe takes. I am going to try selling some of my existing work to help pay for this, however I’m unsure how much of a dent in the funds I’ll be able to make (Ebay is a fickle mistress).
I wanted to offer my graphic design services to everyone who donates, but with the majority of our equipment out of commission I honestly do not know how long it will before I can reliably work on extra commissions on top of the current freelance work I already have on my docket. What I do have to give is a coloring book. It is not much currently, but I have been working on a coloring book project, featuring whimsical fantasy designs for children and those young at heart (examples shown above). For anyone who donates, any amount, I will send you a free pdf of my current coloring designs, and as I complete more pages you will be the first to get them. Also I will place your names in the list of contributors once the coloring book project is finished. If you make a donation, make sure to list a preferred email address so I can send you a .pdf of the coloring designs. Also, if I see you in person, expect a hug.
So yeah, that’s a messed up year. Emily and Charles are awesome people and I really want to help see this GoFundMe do really well. So my thought? The Ultimate Redshirt.
The plan is simple. Donate more than $40. Contact Emily who will put us in touch. Tell me how you want to appear in the upcoming Kaiju Darkness book (book 3 of the Murder World series, FYI) and I will redshirt the hell out of you.
What is a redshirt, you may ask? Well, I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll let the UrbanDictionary bore you for me.
Now, I may use you in a hideous manner and kill you in such a way that your mother will shake her head and say “I always knew that they would end up like this.” I can promise you blood. I can promise you gore. I can even promise you a horrific end. I can’t promise tears, however, unless you’re counting the tears of laughter I will be shedding as I write your demise (tears not guaranteed). For $40 measly bucks your name will be immortalized in print and whose literary death will be spoken upon at conventions for years to come (Trust me. We still chuckle at how Travis S. Taylor redshirted one Joe Buckley the first time).
Plus, you know, good cause and karma points. Since this winter is going to suck (according to Farmer’s Almanac), we’re all going to need massive karma points indeed.