I recently sent an update to our Kickstarter supporters and felt that I should make sure that some of those thoughts I shared there made there way to this site…
The support has been wonderful to see and I will be able to post some more images and updates from the book soon. This project is so important to me for a few reasons that I wanted to share.
I have been a teacher for over 20 years focusing primarily on students and settings where learners have been marginalized or left behind by our traditional system. I have also grown up in a family where chronic conditions were the norm. As I battle with my own issues with chronic nerve pain, I wanted to create something from that pain that has the potential to uplift others. It has meant a tremendous amount for my own personal recovery and ongoing struggle.
Dolorem isn’t just about a hero beating people up, nor is it a traditional hero story, or a knockoff of Superman or Batman. This is something in which I hope that all of you will find something that connects. Part of this story is about the internal and external struggles that so many of us face. It’s a chance to be a part of the conversation about how we treat each other and the systems that are in place that prevent people from receiving the support they need. This is about the drive people have to survive and persevere through live’s challenges. It’s also full of action and mythological figures!
See the connection to my lifelong work? This story is my way of representing the lives of the students and families I’ve served, as well as acknowledging the difficulties that so many of us face that might not be immediately recognizable when we look at someone. This is a story of empathy and doing what we can to help lighten the load of others.
On the Dolorem Twitter account you will see that I have been interacting more with those who have been facing their own struggles. I want this story to be part of the community that will demonstrate the kind of values that those living each day with invisible struggles face. The metaphors that will be present in this story will serve as a source of ideas and expression to help talk about what people go through. Kind of how I looked at X-Men when I was a kid. Literature has always served these kinds of purposes. We can look to it for comfort, for empathy, for a way to talk about and analyze things that are happening in the real world.
I draw my inspiration from the myths we tell, even those myths that we tell about ourselves when it comes to history, culture, and our politics. It’s not that we don’t have the solutions to deal with our problems, we just lack the will to enact them. It reminds me of a lyric from a Living Colour song, Pride, “History’s a lie that they teach you in school. A fraudulent view called the golden rule.” We’re currently in a battle to teach our own history accurately. I take Frederick Douglass’ view of that, “America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.” Through literature, we can explore these issues that allow us to take an honest look at ourselves and then we can decide who we want to be.
So even our lies are true, because they demonstrate who we are.