Hi there! Are you old? I kind of am, and as such it’s my privilege to share stories with anyone I want to about what it was like for me when I was not old. I don’t make the rules but, if I did, I would’ve made this one because I love talking about Me, a subject in which I am an expert. Now, my story: back when I wasn’t old yet — in fact, I was young enough to be absolutely swindled out of both my time and my precious few resources, including youthful charm and a single-minded determination to succeed at most arbitrary tasks put forth by old people in positions of authority (I say ‘most’ because I decidedly did not possess this determination or even affability when it came to tasks put forth by specific old people such as my mother, and for this I carry only a small weight of regret.) — and when the world was a very different place in terms of afternoon television options and, apparently, any awareness of implied danger, public schools and extracurricular organizations like Tammy’s School of Dance (for example) would conduct fundraisers. You already know where this is going but you will bear with me throughout the rest of this story because I am kind of old and that’s the respectful thing to do. You have smooth, supple skin draped across the front of your skull and I have your attention and this is the tradeoff you find yourself participating in today.
So, fundraisers, meant to subsidize the organization or school, would very often include the following: 1) shiny glossy catalogues showcasing such wares as cheese spread, wrapping paper, chocolate turtles, candles, and tins of popcorn 2) aspirational prizes like rubber ducks, miniature neon clackers, pogo balls, and AM/FM radios divided into tiers 3) carbon invoices requiring the use of ballpoint pens. Sometimes there would also be school-wide assemblies where these prizes would be dangled in front of us and, even though we knew Stephen or Heather (or sometimes Adrienne) would be the only ones in our grade who stood even a small chance of selling enough caramel popcorn to receive anything beyond the second tier, we would find ourselves inspired. It was with this inspiration and Leigh Ann’s friend Beth’s 10-color retractable ballpoint pen that I would set out to sell sell SELL. I spent my afternoons in the homes of elderly neighbors, with elected officials and their clerical staff, and on the phone with extended family, carefully filling out my invoice and placing personal checks into a designated envelope. I begged my own mother to please buy the cheese spread, everyone else was ordering it and surely 12 other people — people she knew, worked with, even! — could not be wrong: it must be good. (My mother never ordered the cheese spread; we were an assorted popcorn tin family. I will forgive her for this on her deathbed and not a moment sooner.)
As was written in the stars, I did not win an AM/FM radio. Reader, I did not come close.
A full week of hustling, foregoing Darkwing Duck and Laverne & Shirley, left me with little more than a neon clacker. A truly disappointing end to what seemed like such a promising endeavor.
Which brings me to this entire article here before your very eyes. Autostraddle is fundraising! Our last fundraiser of 2020! Your singular opportunity to secure limited edition shirts, stickers, masks, and art prints! And, perhaps most importantly, my shot at fundraising redemption. I like to think of this post as me, just me, sitting in your living room while you flip through a glossy catalogue and make your choices. Did you know that if I sell $50k worth of these goods and services, I’ll win the ultimate grand prize of working for a growing queer community, paying queer creators for their brilliance, and helping our new EIC Kamala Puligandla and Deputy Editor Carmen Phillips reach their exciting editorial goals for 2020 and beyond! A tier 10 prize!! A good and noble reason to miss the next five episodes of Rescue Rangers (even though I think I’m in love with Gadget??)!!
WILL YOU HELP ME GET TO TIER 10???
Awesome thank you, here’s what you can buy!
Ari Liloan Collection
An extremely colorful situation on our hands here! Ari’s illustration includes all kinds of queer people just being their best queer selves, climbing out of and sitting upon some iridescent-looking blossoms and leaves. The dark blue backdrop of the starry night sky makes me emotional, to be honest.
website | twitter | instagram
Ari is a Filipino/Italian illustrator living in Berlin, where they enjoy creating vegan recipes and losing at overcomplicated board games. Their art style is “a bastard of 1930 goldenage surrealism and 2019 vector art dilettantism.”
Dia Pacheco Collection
Bright botanicals and beautiful queer humans are the story, morning glory. Dia’s illustrations show us two queer people standing boldly in their own power, and then coming together to form an even stronger force. Here’s how Dia describes this work: “The pose of the people are inspired by the beautiful poses of the Vogue, free, strong, imposing and artistic.” YES.
website | twitter | instagram
Dia is a Mexican freelance illustrator and artist whose work you may have also seen in this incredible piece, Selena Forever: How Family and Fans Are Keeping the Icons Memory Alive, on Zora.
Emma Rust Collection
Emma’s illustrations are soft and full of feelings! With a muted color palette and little border details, we see what different kinds of community and chosen family can look like: a sweet summer child in the flowers, a farming co-op sharing the work and the harvest, and a couple enjoying what I can only assume is an afternoon nap in the grass. I want to read books about all of these people.
Emma is a mixed race, Asian American comic artist, organizer, and advocate based in Portland. You probably know them from their comic, The Lakeview Crew, that runs monthly on this website for which we are raising funds!
Aubrey Casazza Masks
Scissoring, but for your face! Aubrey has designed a delightful take on our favorite sexual innuendo: two scissors just going at it. These masks are handmade by Jess Sheeran in Cleveland, Ohio, who, by the way, also makes Cool Critter plushies!
Yoweeeee would you look at that gorgeous isosceles triangle! Placed ever so gently upon a black nail file and then repeated several times across this handmade face mask, also sewn by the above-mentioned Jess Sheeran who, I cannot stress enough, also makes furry friends you can hold with your own hands.
Senior Staff Collection
We all sat quietly in our respective homes and looked inward, asking the age-old question: “What can I contribute to this fundraiser?” and friend, this is what we came up with. I hope you read each offering and think to yourself, “Yeah, that sounds like something [person] would do.”
Custom ASMR Video by Rachel
Want to hear the dulcet, Daria-esque tones of Rachel’s voice lulling you to sleep or calming you during your workday? Get the gift that keeps on giving with this personalized custom ASMR-style video (with accompanying audio file!) up to 25 minutes long.
“To L and Back” Recaps the Film of Your Choice
You’ve heard them recap The L Word and you liked it. Consider this: Carly, Riese, and a guest recapping a film — and not just any film: the precise film you request for us to recap.
Burn Your Enemy with Help from Kamala
Fill out Kamala’s questionnaire and she will custom craft nicknames and burns for you to share, or just to hold dearly in your heart.
Personalized Creative Coaching Session with Rachel
Feel like you finally want to get started on that book but feeling lost about how? Ready to break into personal essay writing but want some clarity around the industry? Frustrated about why your pitches to editors aren’t getting picked up? Get a 1-hour FaceTime consultation and coaching session around your creative goals, and go forth feeling informed, well-resourced and empowered to make your dreams real!
Handmade Thank You Cards from Riese and Carol
Get a personalized, hand-made thank you card from Riese and her beautiful dog Carol. Every card will be vaguely artsy and feature a photograph of Carol!
Your Tarot Reading in GIFs from Nicole
Nicole is a semi-professional tarot reader with 20 years of experience — but think of this reading as something that straddles the line between the spiritual and…the internet! And hey, even if it’s bad news, isn’t that better with a cat video? Package includes a 20-minute consultation, followed by an email tarot reading rife with GIFs, links to YouTube videos and Autostraddle references. The perfect gift for a queer friend who wants some vapid content with their reading and an internet keepsake forever. (These are for entertainment purposes only for sure.)
“To L and Back” Archival Notes
Prior to every episode of the podcast you know and love, Riese takes unhinged, hand-written notes on every moment of the episode itself to reference during the podcast.! Now you can be the proud owner of these RAW UNFILTERED notes.
Dyke Kitchen Emergency Consult with Kamala
Send Kamala a pic of your fridge/pantry and she can tell you what food or cocktail you can make right now!
Collage + Mini Museum of Good Clean Fun from Laneia
Answer a very short questionnaire and Laneia (that’s me, I’m Laneia) will assemble a card-like situation full of paper, secrets, odds and ends, art, “art,” unnecessary things you didn’t know you wanted, fortitude, and tape. Mailed directly to you or a friend just in time for the day it arrives.
Who Are You? by Kamala
Kamala will write your bio — for Instagram, for your professional life, for your family reunion Zoom call, truly almost anything!