... and it was sort of an accident, but full steam ahead now. Why not?
At our monthly event called Carapace, ordinary people tell true personal stories of about five minutes each on a pre-chosen theme, such as "Feuds & Rivalries" or "Strange Magic." We chose the name because it means turtle shell. Our motto is, "Everyone has a story. Come out of your shell."
People who want to tell a story put their name in a hat before the show. Nobody has to tell a story, of course. The show is free, and is held in Manuel's Tavern, and runs from 7:30 sharp to 9 p.m., on the fourth Tuesday of every month.
Joyce Mitchell and I started Carapace in February 2010 on our own dime (for sound equipment, posters, programs, etc.). This turned out to be more of Joyce's dimes than mine, since she paid for the sound equipment. Twice. The first time, shortly after Carapace began, the sound gear was stolen from her truck, parked in the deck across from what is now Barcelona Wine Bar, formerly Zaya. Somebody smashed the window. Even then, crime was on the rise in Inman Park, though people were better about denying it in those days.
In the two years-plus that Carapace has been doing its thing, we've found that when storytellers (we call them "raconteurs," using the French word because this really isn't like traditional storytelling at all!) are brave enough to recount the intimate details of their lives, they develop bonds with others that can hardly be made in other ways. Such bonds, for whatever reason, are not often made as we go about our estranged lives nowadays.
This feels corny to talk about. But if you've ever been to a Carapace event, you know what I mean.
Just the "ticket" for our no-ticket show?
One weekend while wasting time on the Internet, I found the GOODMaker website, which is all about financing peoples' projects for the betterment of their communities. The website asked how stories might be used in that way. I thought, "We're already doing it." The website offered a $3,000 one-time grant for the project that would be chosen from a field of candidates.
We need the money. We've needed it from day one, actually, but to help Carapace grow as we know it can ... beyond the often standing-room-only crowds at Manuel's, into schools, into nursing homes, and beyond ... we need funding. Yes, we could simply charge admission, but I believe that goes agains the spirit of our event. Carapace will be free as long as I'm director of it.
So I wrote up a proposal and posted a video as the GOODMaker website asked.
When I was almost finished, I realized that the procedure involves voting. Specifically, it involves voting by people out there in the cyberverse. In other words, it's a popularity contest. Similar to Kickstarter or any of the others, except that voters don't have to pledge any money. GOODMaker provides all that.
I hate popularity contests. If you had an adolescence like mine, you'd understand why. Maybe you did have an adolescence like mine. (And how's adulthood going, for that matter?)
The boss told me to do it, and so I did
"Popular" has almost nothing to do with quality. There may even be an inverse relationship. And, as popular as Carapace has become among those in the know, it's not for everybody.
Those who love it, however, really love it. You might, too.
Anyway, here we are, in a popularity contest.
I'm nervous posting this. My dad sold Amway products when I was a kid and it feels like the same thing. You know, get all your friends to buy some dish soap and then talk them into start selling it along with you, and you'll be rich! My dad was never rich. He had no money at all until he started robbing banks.
Kidding. But Anna Varela, who runs the whole Patch show in Atlanta, seriously did say on our Carapace Facebook page that I should blog about the funding try. For whatever it's worth, I'm doing it. If nothing else, you can go to GOODMaker and read about what we do, and vote if you feel like it. And/or maybe come to a show at Manuel's. We'll be happy to see you.
Do not leave anything of value in your car.