Hi, internets! My name is Terry McGhee and I am dragging you here in the hopes that you will hear (read) me out and hopefully find a reason to want to contribute to this campaign!
Let’s start off with a little about me. Just imagine, it was a dark and cool February night in 1979, the Christmas decorations were all tucked away neatly in the garage except for the Donaldson's house down the street, for some reason they just didn’t care anymore. My parents stuffed themselves into my father's truck and set out for the hospital, my mother grasping tight my father's arm while muttering, “If you name him Lee, I’ll kill you!” as I began my preparations to be born into the world.
Sorry, it says a short introduction!
Ok, so let us fast forward a bit. I am broke. Some (including myself) might say broken as well, but I am working on that. Apparently, Flex Seal can only do so much for the human mind.
Anyway, I need help publishing my fifth book Souvenir of Nowhere and building a sellers booth, but more than that, I need help in creating a social table where we can all gather and openly talk about things we have all kept quiet about for far too long, such as suicide.
I’ve self-published four previous books:
The Streets is a compilation of short stories that started out as a way to deal with past experiences and then turned into a sort of mix of fact and fiction that made its way to publication.
Dark Leaves was originally titled Dark Leaf Poetry, it’s a massive book of poetry that was written and compiled without much editing.
Thief of Dreams was my first actual attempt at editing and putting together a book of poetry that would showcase some of my better work.
Charades was published in 2013, which is where I started the idea of mixing poetry, stories, and journal entries into a single book.
Yes, this campaign is to help publish Souvenir of Nowhere, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg that I envision. I would also love to be able to begin stepping out of the dark and comforting corners of my own little world and create a presence both in the outernet as well as the internet. The goal isn’t just to publish, but to also create a reserve of 10 books each and set up shop as a real artist who has their own booth that they can throw in the truck and unfurl at local events and such. For that to happen, I‘m going to have to do some serious begging, bartering, and well, possibly certain unspeakable services that require mouthwash, like public speaking. What? Oh come on, get your mind out of the gutter!
If and when we reach that goal, then we will be turning towards a much bigger picture and incredibly difficult challenge that I think I am ready to take on, but I’ll need help. I want to create a safe place for those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts and plans. I know that there are hotlines and programs already in place and I do not want to take anything away from what they do, I think it is great. I also know that I can't be the only one who felt a little untrusting of using them in moments where I really needed a shoulder to lean on. Anonymity can be a powerful tool if used correctly, the strugle will be in figuring out how to do it.
The poetry and stories aspect of Souvenir of Nowhere pretty much attract their own lovers, but the journal section of SoN is what both terrifies me as well as exhilarates.
In Charades the journal section was made up of a lot of entries regarding my mothers passing and the direct aftermath of dealing with it. Well not so much dealing with it as just surviving it.
In Souvenir of Nowhere, the journal entries mostly deal with my plans to commit suicide in 2013. These are completely unedited for content (except for changing names to initials) and show a very raw and disturbing look at my own fight or lack thereof. They are not easy to read, and they were even harder to write. There are personal secrets in here that most of my family doesn’t know about. As much as I wanted to go back and edit some of it out to save face, I can’t. Not if I want this to be an honest and real starting point for the discussion I hope follows.
This is not a self-help book, there are no answers here. You won’t find how one person overcame his suicidal thoughts and lives happily ever after. I still struggle with it every day, but I am tired of how much of an eggshell topic it is in society. So with your help, I am hoping to create a community within our own where people can talk about their struggle, their fight, not feel ashamed or guilty about it. A place where there is safety, not just in acceptance, but in encouragement to talk about it as well.
So, what I have figured out is some of the starting goal details! Yes, this is where things get rather boring for some, but others are curious how much thought has been put into this campaign and I wanted to ease their mind that it wasn’t just tossed up overnight.
Let’s keep the fun rolling for a minute though and talk about the Perks for donating first!
This is concept artwork for the Limited Edition 8x2” Bookmarks, but don’t you worry, there will also be tassels!
Here are all the books that in addition to Souvenir of Nowhere, are also offered as perks!
Ok so let’s break down the campaign goals, shall we? This is what is needed to put together my little seller booth of awesome!
Table 72" x 30" x 29.25": $70.00
Table Cover: $20.00
Banner 6'x2': $45.00
Posters x50: $20.00
Bookmarks 2"x8" x250: $36.00
Bookmark Tassels x100: $15.00
Business Cards x250: $17.70
The Streets x10,Thief of Dreams x10, Dark Leaves x10, Charades x10, Souvenir of Nowhere x10: $254.30
First Friday Spot 12 months: $180.00 (This is a local Bakersfield Arts Council gathering that happens downtown locally on every first Friday of the month)
$731.00 w/ Crowd Funding Charge of 10%
So, $731 without shipping charges added. I know what you’re thinking, why the $1500 goal then?
The Donation Vs Cost break down is as follows:
Donation Vs Profit after Cost
$5 - $3.25
$10 - $6.00
$15 - $7.00
$20 - $12.00
$30 - $16.00
$40 - $20.00
$50 - $24.00
$100 - $40.00
Basically, it boils down to needing twice as much to hit the goal, which is fine. I might be kind of shooting myself in the foot a bit because I also haven’t actually figured in shipping charges, but still, I think I am comfortable enough with the prospect of my campaign to go for it!
I know some of you are reading this outside of the USA and frowning a little bit but don’t be discouraged. Although I can’t technically sign and ship you copies of the perks without charging astronomical amounts for shipping, I can figure out a way to send you coupon codes for Amazon in the UK that will drop the cost of the book down to it’s bare publisher charged price with no royalties, which is somewhere around the £2.99 or €3.50 mark.
Well, if you are still here or already donated, I would like to thank you immensely for hearing (reading) me out. Hopefully, I can welcome you to the campaign. If you can’t donate but still want to help, use those Share options and spread the word. We only have 60 days to make this happen from the moment we go live, so feel free to click them often!
What is Souvenir of Nowhere?
Souvenir of Nowhere is a three part book. Poetry, Short stories (both finished and unfinished), and journal entries.
Each section is in chronological order, spanning four years (2013 to 2016). While only the Journal section uses dates, you can still feel the arc and spiral of the first two sections.
Why should anyone care or be interested in reading journal entries in a poetry and short story book?
Not everyone will, and that is perfectly fine. In Charades I did the same thing, including journal entries of the time after my mother passed away as well as a suicide letter written in 2007. I did so in the hopes it might help someone. Not in the sense that I have any answers what so ever, but think of it as a personal description of how one person kept their head above water when that tiny little ripple we see out in the distance comes rushing forward and turns into a towering wall of water before it reaches us.
In Souvenir of Nowhere I took it not just to a new level, but completely passed my own comfort zone with the journal entries. Most of them were written as I prepared again in 2013 to take my own life. They are both a goodbye as well as a description of the demons I fight within my own head to this day. There are no answers here, no happy ending, and no easy fix.
My hope is that someone somewhere will read these entries and find comfort in knowing that while they may feel they fight the battle on their own, there are many of us fighting the same war under different circumstances and that they are never alone. I also want to start a conversation about suicide, one not cloaked in hushed whispers of absent promises like, “It’ll get better”, or “Cheer up” bullshit, but a real conversation where people can say, “This is my fight.” and not be judged or torn down by it, but embraced for the courage to come forward.
Anyone who has struggled with suicide knows the joke of psychiatric wards, bored doctors, and caring but scared loved ones. So let’s talk about it, no matter how terrified we all may be.
Do you have a motto you live by?
I do, and it’s pretty simple. “One more f***ing day!”