Friday, March 21, 2014

A Group Project

I've never been a huge fan of group projects. I like the idea of them but the reality hardly ever resembles the idea. When I was a kid and the teacher announced that we would be doing a group project I would experience a brief moment of hope and excitement at the thought of working with my friends to complete a project in perfect unity thus attaining high grades and a closer connection with each other in one fell swoop. This optimistic moment would only last for a few seconds before my guts would twist with dread and anxiety.

What if no one chose me for their group? What if I got stuck working with the kid who never bathes or the one whose homework always looks like it was sent through the garburator before being handed in? What if no one liked my ideas? What if they wouldn't let me help? Or what if I get stuck doing all the work? 

Even writing this now I am feeling anxious as I remember the group projects gone wrong from my childhood. Times when work wasn't done, when bickering caused the group to disintegrate, when I was kicked out of the group, when I wanted to kick someone else out of the group, when I did get stuck working with the kid that never bathed and our project looked like it had been sent through the garburator. But there were other times, times when everything went right and it was magic.

I failed my grade twelve English Lit class. It's true. I did. At first I thought it was the worst - and most humiliating - thing to ever happen in the history of the world but it turned out to be one of the greatest gifts of my life. Because I failed the English Lit course in my first semester I had to take it again during the second semester and then take my English option course at night school. I ended up getting into an option course at the university and I loved it. My second semester English Lit course was filled with other 'failures', oddballs and ESL students ... and it was marvellous! Both classes were filled with back to back group projects which translated into new and interesting friendships, unique projects and fantastic grades.

Through that one course failure a door was opened for me to learn about the beauty of relying on friends, opening my creative process to others for support, encouragement and ideas and that if I want it done right I don't need to do it myself. In fact, if I want it done right, I need to trust the opinions, talents and abilities of others. I learned that group projects are fantastic!

I learned all this as a teen but somehow through my adults years some of these truths have faded away. I've forgotten how exhilarating it can be to share ideas and strategies with others. I forgot how fast friendships can form while working on a project together. I forgot how much sweeter the sense of accomplishment is when it's shared.

As many of you know, last summer I wrote a book. It's an inspirational book based on my own life experiences. I've spent the last several months trying to figure out how to publish it. I've looked into getting an agent and submitting my manuscript through traditional routes. I've also looked into self-publishing. I've chatted with friends, fellow writers and industry professionals and I've spent a lot of time praying about what's next. Sadly, for me, there was no divine sign or moment of clarity so I'm just giving this a go. I'd like to self publish this book but I can't do it on my own. Every time I've started to save up the cash to pay for the printing fees some other regular life issue pops up and my little stash of cash diminishes. So, I've turned this into a group project.

Many of you have been supportive and encouraging through my blogging years beyond my expectations. Your kind words have been a balm to my soul and in my darkest days have shone a little light into my life and I thank you for that. I feel as awkward as heck asking for more from you but here it goes ... 

I've opened an account with an online fundraising site. My goal is to raise $4,000 to publish my book and order extra copies to donate to Siloam Mission in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Teen Challenge. If you'd like to donate towards getting my book published you can go to Go Fund Me to view my profile and donate. I also invite you to click over there to read a chapter from my book, just to get a feel for what I've written.

Thank you for being in my group ... whether your contribution is a kind word, a message of support or a financial donation I appreciate it greatly. I love being in this Group Project called life with you!

Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.
~Ryunosuke Satoro