Bringing ideas into reality | Making Rambles

A LITTLE OVER A MONTH AGO

I was venting frustrations to my partner about how so many of my writings, specifically my poems, were in journals gathering dust.

"The whole point," I said, "of writing for hours each day was to compile them into a book."

At that point, as often happens when longing approaches a ledge, I was visited by an idea so energizing that it made me stand up out of my seat:

I could gather the best of the writings. I could pair them with photos. I could crowd-fund the cost of printing. Then, these writings will finally have a home in a lovely book that I could share with friends, family, and all the ramblers I've met over the course of the last decade! 

The idea was clear, but was quickly followed by doubt.

Who am I to print a book? Why should anyone help bring my words to life? I'm not a notable writer or photographer or anything. 

And so despair descended upon me as my partner watched the rise and fall of a great idea transpire in a span of minutes. The light in my eyes went from a roaring blaze to a flickering spark. 

"What just happened?" She asked. "Where did you go?"

"I don't know. I don't know if it's worth doing." 

It's a great idea, she said. We must do it. 

So, in spite of my doubts, we decided to get started. 

THEN SOME FRIENDS SHOWED UP TO HELP

It dawned on me that a great number of my friends are very talented photographers, so I sent them poems and asked if they'd interpret the writings through their photos. Suddenly, the book wasn't limited to my visuals alone.

A fellow writer friend, Kacie McGeary, graciously helped me sift through nearly 200 writings to narrow down the selections to 27 of our favorites. Then, she edited them with me. 

A graphic designer friend, Alexandria Duke, offered to design the book's layout. I sent her all of the selected writings and photos and she was quickly off to make it beautiful.

My partner and project manager, Stephanie Kang, rallied the team together and ensured that every deadline was met so that this idea would become tangible. She also worked wonders on an Excel spreadsheet; something that gives me nightmares.   

A videographer friend, Jon Joiner, agreed to shoot a one-minute marketing video for the project. We spent a very full day grabbing shots all over San Francisco, and also pulled in footage from the monastery where he had helped me create a visual commemoration of my time in the desert. 

An artist friend, Ali Nelson, took all titles in the book and converted them into graceful swirls of hand-lettered words that could easily stand alone as individual prints, but are instead going to live with the poems in the book. 

Additionally, Kevin Von Qualen, Jesse Lendzion, Jedidiah Jenkins, Kate Gazaway, Justin Eisner, and Dustin Ederer all lent support with their photos and creative critique.  

And just like that, in a matter of days, the idea that I'd almost shot down had a team of 12 contributors behind it. 

THE BOOK IS HAPPENING

Next week, we are going to launch a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter to raise $7k to cover the cost of printing Rambles, for poetic wanderers. I cannot wait to share it with you. 

As I am spending today finalizing designs, pricing printers, and coordinating with a team of creative contributors from all over the world, I can't help but be grateful for the people in my life. People who encourage me. People who help me discard doubts in order to focus in on hopes. People whose great talent is only matched by great generosity. People who care about making things that bring others to life. People who are fully alive. Rambles has become a compilation of their essence, and I couldn't be more proud. 

There are some great rewards to be claimed once the campaign goes live – prints, postcards, book bundles, writing services, etc. – and, as one who has rambled along with me all these years, I want you to have first dibs on any of the items you'd like. Stay tuned for that update. 

Your support is endlessly encouraging to me. 

Let's keep bringing ideas into reality.

Dane Johnson

Ramble with a Plan, 542 Brannan Street, South of Market, CA, 94107

Writer | Explorer | Pilgrim