This might be a new speed record in book collaboration and instant publishing. 2:46 Quakebook. Call for submissions: Twitter’s @OurManInAbiko. Three weeks later: an online version of the book. It’s going to print. Sales benefit Red Cross Japan.
It’s too raw to be history or memoir yet. As a genre, it’s closest to e-mail. Imagine Twitter posts with unlimited characters, or unedited radio interviews on the street, combined with fundraising, connection, catharsis. Here are two excerpts from longer entries. (As I choose these vivid lines for you, they become sound bites and Twitter posts.)
“My 70-year-old mother refuses to go to a shelter and insists on staying at home. She says she’s not bothered by magnitude 3 earthquakes. Even though the government seems to have forgotten her, she is perfectly calm.” Yuki Watanabe, Tokyo
“I won’t forget the first video I saw of the tsunami. This black mass rolled over the landscape, gulping, chewing and spitting out everything in its path. I waited for the ebb to come, but it didn’t. The black water just kept going and going. I reversed the video and hit pause, staring at the scene frozen on my computer screen. I was frozen, too.” Sybil Murray, UK
I can see this idea catching on. Perhaps in the future, we’ll call these instant disaster anthologies “quakebooks.”
Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011
Every moment captured here is honouring and valuing each individual caught up in the unfolding drama. A rare and precious opportunity to share in the stories of so many otherwise nameless and countless numbers effected. Great job.
Hi, Naomi Lynn! Were you involved in the project?
Or did I sound as though I were? I wasn’t–just learned of it hours ago.