in the book "100 Stories for Haiti".
It may not appear that way at first glance. There are 100 stories there of course but, behind that, there are 100 writers and each of them has a story to tell about themselves as well as the story they wrote. There is also the story of how the book came to be. And, behind all that, there is the story of the reason the book came to be.
For anyone who has not yet caught up with this book hereis a link to the Facebook page for Greg McQueen. It was Greg's idea and, to get an idea of the work involved, it is worth looking at.
Greg wanted to writers to get together and produce a positive, hopeful book as a fundraiser for the International Red Cross. It has been published by Bridge House Publishing as a print on demand book and, at last count, it has already raised more than £2000. The book is now being translated into Portuguese for the Brazilian market. (Anyone interested in doing a Spanish edition and getting to 20% of the world's market and thus helping Chile's earthquake victims please let Greg know!)
Some writers gave stories they had already written. Others wrote a story for the book. Not all the contributions could be used.
An aid worker for Red Cross told me about the project. I also saw it talked about in two writing blogs. My own contribution was more accidental than planned. It was written in twenty minutes on the Sunday evening before the deadline. I was almost drowning in a landslide of requests for communication assistance from Haiti and elsewhere at the time. I had not slept properly for days but Iwas at home working on the aid effort. I did have somewhere to lie down when I got the chance. I could get a drink of water whenever I needed one. I could eat - and eat reasonably well. I was so, so lucky. Somewhere out of all that came the story of, as a friend's young daughter put it, "everyone coming together". It still puzzles me how I came to write it. I do not write short stories. My only regret is that, with a bit of work, it might have been made into something else and I could have used that to raise more desperately needed funds.
But, what turned out to be so important was the way in which so many people came together. Writing is solitary work. Writers do not cooperate easily with one another. They already occupy at least two worlds, the one in which they live while working and the one in which they physically reside the rest of the time. Adjusting takes time and acknowledging that others need to do the same thing can be difficult to say the least.
The end result was more than worth it on this occasion. There is a book out there for which writers came together. It showed the rest of the world what can be done when people do cooperate. It was a way of giving more than the little cash most of us could afford. It was a way of giving part of ourselves - forever.