I’m pinkish human, with blue and yellow splotches.

I want to make this clear right now: Melanin is an integral component of existence on Earth for anything that isn’t a plant. The fact that people judge other people by the quantity of this necessary chemical present in our bodies is beyond ridiculous. What’s next? The hemoglobin content of our blood?

I had to fill out the US Census questionnaire this year, and was, once again, reminded of why we need Egodrive to exist in real life. There was a question of “race”. (But, sadly, no option for “human”.) The choices offered spotlight the sad reality of what “matters” to demographic calculations. Of the choices given, two of them were colors (black and white), the rest were national origins.

If you’re “white”, it doesn’t matter where you came from. If you’re “black” it doesn’t matter where you came from. That’s all the sorting they need. For everyone else, regardless of citizenship status, you’re sorted by where your ancestors came from before they were in the US. Nevermind the fact that your ancestors came to the US a hundred years ago. Nevermind the fact that some “white” people here are first generation. Why are we still making this a thing?

Before you rattle off the marketing, “It’s so they know where to send the money for services people need most,” I want you to think about this…

We have social services in place on the local level, that report to the county and state level with regular (much more frequent than every ten years) information on the needs of communities. They already know where the poor districts are. They already know where unemployment is high, where education is low, and where homelessness is rampant. They already have all of this information. This is big data, that has been compiled and is updated every day. So why are we asking for it on a government form that we are required, by law, to answer?

Then I got to the next section of the form… there are only two genders, and you are required to pick one.

Then marital status? Why is this important at all? What government services apply solely to either single or married people? This one is actually a trick question. They can’t ask you about your sexual orientation, but they CAN ask if you are married to someone of the same gender. (Of the two they offer.) You see what they did there? It’s a net with some gaps in it, but it’s still a net.

The point I’m trying to make here, is that ALL of this is marketing. All of this is just another way to tuck people into little boxes to be dealt with more efficiently, with no regard for the way we are all different or the same. If the true purpose of the census is to count everyone “Once, only once, and in the right place” then we should be able to answer in the exact same way we did in second grade.



Strong Branches

I’m not going to lie, folks: I’m not struggling. I see the posts from my fellow artists: out of work, facing homelessness, doubling down on their side-hustle to try to make it through this mess, and I recognize how solid my ground is. I don’t wipe my brow and give a sigh of relief. I don’t pound on my keyboard, demanding that “somebody” fix it. My very first instinct, as always, is to help.

But how? I’m not rich, not even close. My ability to remain financially stable during a global pandemic is directly tied to the same skills I’ve developed to remain successfully self-employed for almost the entirety of my adult life. I know how to create things that people want/need. I know how to adapt and innovate, and adjust my course to take advantage of the currents and the winds. These are skills I’ve taught to others, and it hasn’t been lost on me that my best students are not the ones currently offering to sell their panties on reddit.

My first thought was to try to teach more people faster, but as I am already donating my time to making masks and keeping my Etsy shops running at full speed, making a video series just isn’t plausible at the moment. Not to mention that artists need help now, and although the knowledge will certainly help them further down the line, it doesn’t meet the immediate need. I can teach the man to fish, but he’s going to starve while he’s still learning to bait the hook.

Then I started to look at what else I could sell to try to raise funds, and again, ran into the problem of a lack of time. While I have an overabundance of raw materials, they would need to be photographed, listed, and shipped, and without being able to have extra help in my workshop due to the virus, I’m already in a labor deficit.

Then it hit me. The Egodrive series is all about people who help people who need help. (Yes, that sentence is grammatically correct.) The Security Specialists of Egodrive are all just random folks who went out of their way to help others, usually at great cost or risk to themselves. I haven’t sent out any query letters this year, so the books are no closer to being published than they were last year, but they can still help people, even if just on a small scale.

I decided to put all of my un-signed titles up on Amazon as Kindle eBooks, and am using 100% of the royalties to support other people. Not only does that help balance the karma of using Amazon as a distribution service, but creates an immediate product that requires no additional labor time from me. If I survive 2020, and find the spoons to continue sending query letters, maybe I’ll find a literary agent to sell the books to a publisher, and then I can help in a much bigger way. But in the meantime, I think Remy and Rose would approve of this plan.

I set up a new Facebook page, The Ulysses Project, to feature any art I commission with the royalties. All of the art will be based on my books, so I’ll be able to use it for promotion right back into the the royalty stream, and commission more art. That’s one sexy circle, baby! – K