On Paying it Forward & the Power of Social Media

Yeah, yeah, I’m posting another blog. I can see you gaping from here. But this is important. Even more important than breaking down who wore what to the Oscars or the Golden Globes or shilling a new release.

I’ll wait for you to pick yourselves up off the floor.

We good now? Okay.

So, I’ve had this thing that I’ve done, ever since I sold my first book (going on *gasp* seven years ago, now) and that’s find a charitable cause to which to contribute. It’s not something I tend to make a big deal of because like religion, politics, & birth control, I find it a sort of private matter (sorry Rush, you lard-assed windbag, no videos for you).

Some years, it’s been a big thing—remember my RITA gown from 2007? The Maggie Gyllenhaal Oscar gown?

As some of you know, I won that in a Clothes Off Our Backs (now sadly defunct) charity auction, with the thought that I might one day, if I was really, really lucky, be able to wear it to a RITA ceremony, you know, if I ever finaled. Little did I know it would be that year and it wound up being my lucky gown, since I, you know, won. *pauses to preen just wee bit*

Most years, though, it’s been little things—small donations to multiple organizations, usually to theatre groups like Red Dog Squadron a not-for-profit theatre company or my own local Seattle Theatre Group or, of course, supporting museums, like Seattle Art Museum or the Experience Music Project Museum (look, I live in Seattle- how can I not?).

Thing is, while donating to these causes are, indeed, charitable, they’re generally also to my benefit—having a beautiful gown to wear, having theatre and museums to attend with the rugrats—let’s face it, I definitely get a pretty good deal out of it.

But now, things is a little different, children…

(And this is where we come to the Power of Social Media portion of our program.)

I’ve mentioned lately that I’ve been hanging more on Twitter than blogging, mostly because I’ve been so buried in the writing that my attention span away from it tends to be better suited for short bursts of, oh, 140 characters or so. Actually, it’s been beneficial from other standpoints as well. With Twitter, I’ve been able to expand the scope of the creative folks I come in contact with, from artists (@loveandcapes) to musicians (@janicewhaley) to actors (@chris_gorham) to writers of many, many stripes, across varying genres and media (Mediums? Media. Whatever). It stimulates my own creative juices (which sounds vaguely naughty) and stokes the excitement I feel for my own work in addition to helping the plot bunnies procreate. Hey, I never said I was completely altruistic—I’m completely open about what I get out of this.

I’m rambling, I know. Okay, I’ll get on with it. One of the actors I follow, Timothy Omundson (@Omundson) from Psych happened to mention he was guesting on the Pop My Culture podcast (@pmcpodcast).

(Hilarious podcast, highly recommended, but if you have kiddies, I suggest listening to it after dark or with headphones, lest the little darlings overhear. Five minutes of PMC and they’ll wind up sounding like extras from Deadwood. You’ve been warned.)

Anyhow, Tim also happened to mention that oh, by the way, Vanessa Ragland (@vanessaragland), one of the hosts, has got a charity thing going on. Goes to show how buried I’ve been, lately, since I follow both the podcast and Vanessa on Twitter and this had somehow slipped past. *shamefaced*

End result is, I checked it out and this is where I get serious, folks—it’s a big deal. Vanessa is in the running for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year

And this is why:

Guys, you know me—inveterate smartass, can make a joke about anything, but you know, cancer is no joking matter to me. It’s an insidious motherfucker that has messed with my own family and has hurt way, way too many people who I love, taking their loved ones from them, far too soon. It even permeated my professional life in that I wrote Breathe, the manuscript nearest and dearest to my heart, in part to express those feelings of helplessness and loss that cancer can generate. It remains my biggest professional regret that it never found a publishing home; too many publishers scared off by the cancer-centric storyline. Too dark, too real, too… scary.

Too bad. Cancer is scary. It’s dark and it’s real and it can strike anyone, including little girls and their daddies. So yeah, I donated, immediately, to Vanessa’s cause. And now I’m asking you, my awesome friends, to help out. If not by donating, because God knows, I know times are hard across the board, then by at least spreading the word, via your blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, whatever floats your boat. You wanna rent a plane and fly a banner over South Beach, go for it (although I think the money would be better spent on a direct donation).

Vanessa has until April 25th to raise lots and lots of money and even if she doesn’t win, which, of course, we want her to, she’ll win, because she’ll have raised lots and lots of money. You see where I’m going with this, y’all?

She also has another secondary, equally important, reason to raise lots of money: her dad. It’s a tragedy, really—Vanessa’s dad, Larry Ragland, for reasons unknown, decided to grow his hair. It’s apparently quite scary. Don’t believe me? Watch:

So there you have it. If Vanessa can raise $5K by the end of the campaign, then Dear Old Dad will have to part with his ponytail. If you don’t do it for the children, then do it for Larry.

Donate. Or pass the word.


Love you all.


This week only, FightCancer with CHARACTER(s). if you donate $50.00 or more to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society ROB PAULSEN ( Or Yakko! Or Pinky! Or Raphael!) will record a personalized outgoing message for your phone!

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