I Need Your Help - 06.06.99

This is probably going to be nearly the lamest 'whatever' I've ever written in terms of thought that I put into it, but I couldn't think of any better way to reach the audience that I wanted to without going this route. In the past month or so, I've been doing a fair amount of work on my soon to be released, redesigned website. It's going to have a lot of the same content as the site does now, but the main difference is that it's going to look a lot better (at least I hope that it does).

Over the course of the past 1.5 years that I've had this particular site going, I've gone from thinking that nobody read the site at all (which was fine, since I was sort of just doing it for my own amusement anyway), to actually receiving some mail and guestbook entries about what I had written. If you were one of the people who wrote me something, anything, I thank you. Even though I like to think that I'm doing this for myself, I always get a little giddy when I have new e-mail in my box from someone that I've never met before.

Anyway, I'm getting off track here. In the course of working on and designing my new site, I came up with quite a few other ideas of things that I want to try to implement. While some of these ideas are way down the road, there was one in particular that kept creeping into my mind and begging for me to give it more thought. It would be a place where people could share stories based on a particular subject that I wouldn't really contribute to. I talked it over with a couple people and they all thought it was an interesting idea, so I went ahead and worked up a complete design for it.

Here's the part where I actually need your help. Since I have a design all put together, and I'm planning on re-launching my site within the next month, I need some content from others to make it all come together. Because I think (or rather hope) that I have actual readers of this section, I wanted to come to you first with my idea hoping that I would get some submissions. Now, on to my idea.

It may sound a little strange at first, but the section I'm working on is based on the simple premise that every scar has a story behind it. I'm starting it up with hopes that it becomes sort of a communal place where people can share interesting stories about their lives, all based upon a mark on their body that will never go away. My own personal experience with this is that I have a very large, very noticible scar right in the middle of my neck. It usually ends up being about eye-level with the average person, and in the past 5 years that I've had it I've explained the story behind it tens of times. While my story isn't that interesting, I know that almost everyone out there has a story of this kind, and I've heard a good many that would make for an amazing read.

If you're interested in contributing (which I really hope you are, don't be modest), I've written up some further details on what I'm looking for below

Submission Hints - Story
When you're writing your story, be sure to pay attention to details and try to make it as interesting as possible for the reader. Tell the truth by all means, but also give people a sense of what you were thinking at the time, why you'll always remember the scar, etc. Did your little brother accidentally clock you with a nine-iron while goofing around in the basement? Did you have a major operation that you'll always remember? Did you get hit by a car while riding your bike to work? Your story can be funny, insightful, depressing or anything in between, but above all it has to read well. Also, please come up with some sort of title for your story (if you don't, you forfeit control of the title to me and I'll name it something weird). I don't have any length requirements, but if it's under 250 or over 1000 words, you might want to work with it a bit. I do promise to read every submission that is sent to me, but I can't promise that every one will be put up on the site. If your story is on the verge of making it onto the site (and time permitting), I may e-mail you back with some suggestions as to how I think it could be spruced up a bit. I'm not a great writer by any means, but this is the system that I have worked out for now. Also, provide me with either an e-mail or web address that I can link to from your name (or you can remain anonymous if you really wish).

Submission Hints - Picture
Even while coming up with the idea for the site, I knew that this would be the one problematic area with the idea. While most everyone has a scar with an interesting story behind it, not everyone has a scar that's easy to see. I knew that I'd run into people with great stories and associations with their scars, yet it would be nearly impossible to photograph them due to fading with time, etc. If you have a great story, but your scar is small and / or hard to photograph, simply do your best in trying to capture the image. You don't have to try to get your whole body in the frame, but do make sure that the scar is clearly visible and large enough in the picture that you can tell what it is. One of the best ways to do this is by using skim lighting across the surface of the scar. Even if it's barely visible, it will most likely show up if you light it just right. If you still can't get a decent shot, I wouldn't even mind if you resorted to Photoshop a bit. One final note (sorry for so many) is to try to keep the picture size down to around 300x250 pixels at 72 dpi. If you have any other questions, drop me an e-mail and I'll try to get back to you.

That's all I ask of you really. Just send me the story in the body of an e-mail and attach a picture of the scar in either .gif or .jpg format. I'll notify everyone who submitted as soon as the site goes up on display, and you'll even get a link of your own out of the deal (also, you retain all rights to your piece, I won't edit it without your consent). Thanks for your help, and I hope to be hearing some stories soon....