I know. You come here for discussion about, oh, writing and creativity and queerness and gender and mental illness … not rabbits. Even if they’re ridiculously cute rabbits, which they are (trust me, I’ve seen all the photos). Your life may be better for the detour into rabbit gorgeousness, but that’s not exactly what you expect to find when you venture into my world of pondering and verbosity.
These aren’t any ordinary rabbits, though.
This book matters to me because, over the last couple of months, I got to midwife this project.
Miche had an idea, a manuscript and some photos, and needed someone with a little experience in ebook production and design to help her get from manuscript to completed book. It is astounding that anyone even asked me to take on this job, never mind pay me to do it. I don’t feel like an ebook-production expert. I’m a largely self-taught dabbler with a personal interest in digital publication – as someone who finds digital works far more accessible than print publications – in a country where digital publishing is not yet a standard inclusion in writing and communications courses. I can put design and structural editing pieces together passably well and muddle through the rest, but I’m well aware of all the things I don’t know and need to learn. I’m not, in any way, a professional producer of ebooks or a professional teacher, and yet that was the job with professional wages attached to it: teach Miche to make an ebook.
It’s only recently that I’ve become in any way remotely able to produce a cover, and yet I helped Miche do just that.
Today she got to upload her book to Smashwords and Amazon and become my sister in self-publishing.
I’m excited for her. I’m proud for her. I think this book stands as testament to the things she’s learnt, and I am so damn proud to hear her talk to me about the next books she means to write, produce and publish. It’s amazing to listen to her speak about her goals and dreams for helping others get their words out into the world. These skills we have been working on together matter, to her and to the people Miche then goes on to help and teach. I know how liberating it feels, as an author, to know that one has the ability to walk a project from inception to publication. I know, as a student, how important it is to give writers the skills to take their fate in their own hands. Now I know what it feels like to know, as a teacher, that I helped someone gain that ability.
Her goals and dreams that are closer to possibility because of my role in the beginning of this journey.
I’ve been struggling of late. I feel like I’m drowning in depression – in all the jobs undone, the words unanswered, the dishes unwashed, my general failure to be a functioning, reliable, normal human being. I look back at my own recent publishing adventures and remember a sad lack of pride in those accomplishments; they are things to be ticked off the list of the things I need to do in order to move onto the next overwhelming riptide of things threatening to tug me out to sea. I’m not proud of my novel manuscript, my self-published books or the two more manuscripts I’m working on to self-publish, even though I know that other people can and do point to me as someone who has accomplished things they have not yet achieved. I write because it makes me feel as close to alive as I can manage right now, and because I literally cannot manage anything else, but I’m not proud. I can’t be: I can’t forget all my failures. What is a success or two in comparison? I’m drowning.
(We’re discussing, my psychologist and I, my cruelty. It doesn’t feel like cruelty as much as sheer objectivity, but the first thing depression does is cloud the sight of those who suffer it. I do know – not well enough to stop, just enough to sigh and curl up in a ball – that my cruelty towards me doesn’t help me in my quest to find the motivation I once had. Cruelty is strangely demotivational. I wish my family understood that. I wish I understood that.)
I am so damn proud of Miche, and, even though I am drowning, I feel a tiny glimmer of pride for me, too.
I have made a difference in someone else’s life. I have been able to start somebody – someone who, like me, exists on the fringes of society; someone else whose needs and wants are drowned out or ignored by a majority who doesn’t listen; someone else who most desperately needs the skills to make herself heard – on the road to something that, I am sure, will be wonderful and amazing. I’ve been able to empower someone in their creativity.
At a time when I feel most useless and powerless, that matters.
I am drowning and I can still make a difference.
There is a power in enabling people to create, and if I can feel it even while smothered in an ocean of grey, it is profound, wondrous and fierce.
Vendors: Smashwords (Amazon to come)
Word count: 7 000 words approx (plus gorgeous photographs that look wonderful on an iPad)
Epub ISBN: 9781310338496
Blurb: Netherland Dwarf Rabbits: taking care of them in Australia is the first in the Miniature for Life Series, published by Labyrinth Press. This book shows the reader how to raise Netherland Dwarf rabbits in an Australian climate while demonstrating what it is we need to feed, house and take care of them. In the style of photographer Anne Geddes, Mischa van Loder has created full colour photos of adorable Netherland Dwarf rabbits in coffee cups, herb baskets, wheelbarrows and more.