That Time I Failed in Front of Everyone I Knew…

That Time I Failed in Front of Everyone I Knew…

Trapped and Miserable

A funny thing about our apartment in Argentina – you had to have a separate key to get into the building and another to enter the apartment door (both of which locked automatically), but you also had to use a third key to get *out* of the building.  

Picture me on June 6th, 2012. My Kickstarter campaign was set to end that evening and not end well. Charlie, my ever supportive partner and some-times therapist, had his luthiery class, so he wasn’t home. He offered to stay, but I said I could suffer the defeat alone. 

By alone, I realized, I didn’t mean *totally* alone. I decided that I wanted to have some tall company – by that I mean a **Quilmes Stout. This flavor of decision always comes with a ‘should I, shouldn’t I?’ debate. Classic angel and devil shoulder sitting and all that. Devil won and won so hard I rushed out the door before the angel had time to talk sense. Rushed out with out my wallet I realized while I was in the hallway. Rushed out..with out my keys. 

Since Buenos Aires is in the southern-hemi, it’s cold in June. Especially cold if you’re wimpy about cold and you’re trapped in a hallway, no way to get in to your apartment and no way to get out of the building to a coffee shop. 

This is the part where I sat and ugly cried in the stairwell. It was the point where my miserable surroundings matched my miserable mood. It also gave me a solid stretch of time to think about what went wrong with my Kickstarter campaign. The campaign that failed in front of everyone I knew.

Reasons for A Failed Kickstarter Campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. I wasn’t Molly Crabapple. (aka – The “Hey if they can do it, so can I!” fallacy. )
    • At the start of this whole Kickstarter business for me was brilliant Molly Crabapple. Her Kickstarter for “Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell” was the blueprint for my own. She locked herself in a hotel room for 5 days, covering the walls with paper, and then covering the paper with art. Her goal was $4500. She got $25,805! 
    • The concept was the same, but the people were decidedly NOT. I’m very, very pleased to be Skye Lucking, make no mistake, but I am no Molly Crabapple! Ms. Crabapple is/was a full-time artist working in the Lower East Side, Manhattan, NY. She’d started an art school called Mr. Sketchy’s. She had several successful art shows…well, you get the idea. In researching this blog, I see she’s grown an even more impressive portfolio. Go Molly Crabapple! Always an inspiration. 
    • Bottom line – Kickstarter success is very much about the network you already have. Don’t mistake the fact that you have a similar concept as another person to mean you have a similar circumstance or chance for success. 
  2. Math (aka – I didn’t know my numbers.)
    • It’s not that I’m bad at math. I’m fine at math. I’m no Dr. Frances Allen but I’m fine. It’s more that I can’t seem to be bothered with figuring out the numbers until I realize that not figuring out the numbers is a HUGE bother. 
    • I wasn’t sure how much it would be to ship out some of my prizes from Buenos Aires, Argentina to my backers. I wasn’t sure exactly how much the materials would cost. I wasn’t sure if I’d lose a great deal of money or walk away with a nice chunk of change. I didn’t know and couldn’t be bothered. So – I just padded the amount I was asking for. By…um..a kind of ridiculous amount: $7,654. 
    • Why $7,654? That’s a great question! Answer? Red wine and hubris. Also, not knowing my numbers. 
  3. “What to do tonight? I know! I’ll cruise around a crowdfunding site to find strangers whose projects I can back!” – Said no one ever.  (aka – I didn’t realize how reliant success was on friends, family, and acquaintances.)
    • At the end of the day – my Kickstarter was just a way for me to have an amazing good time just before leaving the movable fiesta that was Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    • In my mind I was giving people this wonderful opportunity to be part of an event. I imagined this fun intense whirlywind of art and collaboration – finished off with the shipping out of my work that everyone was eager to get. 
    • It wasn’t to start a business. It wasn’t going for a good cause. It was just to fund my great arty adventure. Those who backed it probably weren’t excited to get that piece of art. They were excited to show me support and love. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding if you really want to go down the crowdfunding road. 
  4. A super long, super cutesy, super cringe-worthy video. (aka – I didn’t keep my video short and sweet.)
    • That video, tho. I’m going to be honest. This right here is why I’ve never written about my failed Kickstarter campaign.  I realize now, 5 years hence, that I was trying to woo some stranger into giving me money for my art. I was trying to be charming. I was trying to be cute and it is very, very obvious. Cloying even. For FIVE minutes. Frankly, it is embarrassing. However, we struggle through vulnerability to come out stronger on the other side. So, here it is. Feel free not to watch it all. 
  5. Total Preparation Time Was Not Enough (aka: I didn’t research my market, potential media options, how it would ‘work’ if I did get backing…) 
    • As I said, I didn’t really do the math. However, there was more to it than that. For example, I had a solid group of arty friends in Buenos Aires who wanted to support the campaign…and they were not able to. Kickstarter used Amazon Web Services (or something like that) which was completely unavailable for use by people in all of Argentina. So, that was an awkward setback. I had more than a few people say that they tried to back the campaign – and they just couldn’t. Doh!
    • I was begging to get interviews and press during the campaign – instead of researching the best podcasts or ezines or what have you to be in well before. Don’t do this. It’s kind of a pathetic exercise. 

Reasons Why I’m So Glad My Kickstarter Failed

In the end – it was likely a blessing that my Kickstarter Campaign failed. I’m not sure how it’d have all gone down had I actually gotten that cash and needed to fill 27 feet of canvas, cut it up, and organized shipping for all of the pieces. Also, it would have been hella stressful given we were preparing a big international move back to the US. 

More than that – I was so heartened by those that were supportive of me. Also, I made note of those folks for whom I shouldn’t look for support. The concept that I really need to know those numbers was reinforced (constantly so). The understanding of who I do and do not want to portray myself as was made clearer. This is all very useful information. 

It’s good to fail. I know that isn’t what our ‘winning’ societal message is these days, but winning takes some failing beforehand, no matter how good you are. You fail when you get a rejection letter from a publisher. You fail when you hear nothing back from a retail shop you’ve sent your catalog to. You fail when a painting doesn’t quite work. Does this mean you stop? No. You change your approach. You learn from your mistakes. You fail some more – until – you don’t. 

There is a large part of this story left unwritten – and that’s a renewed gratitude to those that helped me in this process – Charlie, Beatrice, Haje, Vivi, and all of those that backed it. Thank you for believing in me back then. Thank you for believing in me now. 

**Bonus Surreal Video: Quilmes Stout Commercial

Why Representative Ilhan Omar is Important (Videos)

Why Representative Ilhan Omar is Important (Videos)

Representative Ilhan Omar in Minnesota House 

Portrait of Minnesota House Representative Ilhan Omar by Skye Lucking.

Portrait of Minnesota House Representative Ilhan Omar by Skye Lucking.

It was tough times between November and January in terms of political feeling. I was (and still am) energized and ready to take action when and where I could. If art was associated with that action – all the better. One of the opportunities I had was to donate artwork to the “Nasty Women – Phoenix Unite” Art Show. My idea was to look for the positive and I identified 3 Notable Women that gave me hope and inspired my action.  You can read more about that here. 

One of those notable women was Ilan Omar. 

Ilhan Omar is the newly elected, Minnesota House Representative for District 60B. She is the first Somali-American, Muslim woman in the nation to hold an office at this level. After the start of the Somali civil war in 1991, she and her family left the country and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

I was so pleased to see that Representative Omar was a guest on The Daily Show last night. She’s one of those people you want everyone to know about. A child refugee. A Somali-American, Muslim woman. She’s strong. She’s eloquent. She’s American through and through. She’s part of a government that is increasingly hostile to those people exactly like her. She’s crushing it. 

Representative Ilhan Omar on The Daily Show (Video)

 

Time-Lapse Video of Representative Ilhan Omar Portrait

Peace comes by way of inviting and understanding those that are different from you, not blocking and hating them. This is why Ilhan Omar is important. She shows us that there is no one-type of American and that’s what makes America great. 

5 Vegan Friendly Restaurants in New York City

5 Vegan Friendly Restaurants in New York City

When I mentioned my upcoming trip to New York City in June of 2017, my former-New-Yorker friend said – “Best place to be vegan!” I was excited. The city did not disappoint. I’ve been wanting to do a “New York Vegan Friendly Restaurants” article since our return. Here are 5 of the spots where we feasted on vegan fare. Some are exclusively vegan while others had some terrific options: 

Totally Vegan Menu in New York City

1. Cinnamon Snail  

While it’s best known as a food truck, we visited their location at The Pennsy food court. I got two vegan donuts – toasted coconut and strawberry. Plus the Beastmode Burger. How can you pass up a burger with a name like that? 

What We Ate: Beastmode Burger Deluxe 

Ancho chili seitan burger grilled in maple hickory bbq sauce with jalapeno mac n cheese, arugula, smoked chili coconut bacon, and chipotle mayo on a grilled pretzel bun.

 


 

Beyond Sushi in New York City2. Beyond Sushi

100% plant based sushi and Asian fusion food? Um, yes please! Unbeknownst to us, we were visiting Beyond Sushi’s newest location on W. 37th St. The hardest part of the meal was deciding what the meal would be. 

What We Ate: Assortment of Four Pieces, ‘The Badge’ Dumplings, The Red Miso, and the ” Sunny Side” roll

 

 

 

 
3. May Kaidee NYC 

Happy to see our friend Clare Trapasso AND be eating vegan Thai food in NYC.

May Kaidee has cooking schools and restaurants all over Thailand, but just one location in New York City. The New York location serves 100% vegan Thai food. This was impressed upon me by the snarky waitress when I asked what on the menu was vegan. “Um, all of it. We’re a vegan restaurant.” Oops! (An aside: My husband enjoyed the bonafide New York snark.)

We were too busy catching up with an old friend, one Ms. Clare Trapasso, to really look over the menu. We were just about to see “The Great Comet” and had limited time to order, talk, and eat. So, we stuck to the basics. All was delicious. I didn’t have the wherewithal to get decent shots of the food – but you kind know what Thai food looks like, right? If you really want images of the food: go here.

What We Ate: Panang Curry, Pad Thai, Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables and Tofu (Pad Pak Ruam To-hu) 

 

 

Great Vegan Options on the Menu in New York City

4. Taco Majal 
Taco Mahal in New York City

Taco Mahal in New York City

This was an accidental find when the Indian food place we’d walked to was closed – on a Thursday at noon(?) Luckily right around the corner stood Taco Mahal. I love the tag line this very cute eatery has on its website: “Where ‘East Eats’ meets ‘West Zest’ La Casa meets the Masala’. 

They stuffed some chana masala into a fresh (and vegan) naan and then put diced onions and cilantro on top. It was fresh and delicious!

What We Ate: Chana Masala Taco with a side of papadam chips with cilantro-mint chutney

 

 

 


 

5. Little Beet 

After so much decadence a cold pressed juice sounded really good. So, after a quick search, we went to Little Beet for the juice but stayed for the healthy food. Little Beet has several locations around New York and one in Washington D.C. Looking at their menu online – I’m very pleased to see that if you click on the ‘vegan’ button, everything that is not vegan is crossed out. I’m not so pleased to say that when I did that the option I picked while in the restaurant (which the register guy said was vegan) is also crossed out :n/ Aside from that, the food was fresh and juice rejuvenating. 

What We Ate:  (apparently not vegan?!) CARDINI SALAD aka healthy Caesar Salad: romaine, kale, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, watermelon radish, avocado & garlic chickpea dressing – Head over here to see the vegan options.

 

 


There you have it! 5 Vegan Friendly Restaurants in New York City, New York!

 

Harold and Maude, Camp NanoWrimo, and Happy Death Day

Harold and Maude, Camp NanoWrimo, and Happy Death Day

Oh – “Harold and Maude” is a Thing?

There is a surprisingly short connection between the science fiction novel I’m working on and the 1998 comedy “There’s Something About Mary” staring Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller. If you haven’t seen it – you should. It’s a silly, slapstick, goofy-good time (including the credits).  

Have you ever realized what you thought was an obscure gem you’d found in the landscape of culture is in reality a common popular thing – not a secret treasure but a  side-show or theme park? This happened to me while watching “There’s Something About Mary”. My all-time favorite movie was, and is, “Harold and Maude”. The movie was created in 1971 with a beautiful soundtrack by Cat Stephens. It’s about love, age, death, war, activism, identity, parents, children… Well, I could gush on and on. Such an old film and, what I thought, quirky and obscure. Then…

If you haven’t seen “Harold and Maude” – what’s wrong with you?! Just kidding – but really, put that on your list right now. Do it for me. Do it for 1998 Cameron Diaz! 

Happy Death Day

“Harold and Maude” had a profound effect on me. So much so that two of the characters in this novel I’m working on are directly based on the characters from that film. Concepts of aging and death and assisted death and suicide and love were all steeped in the scenes between these two lovers. Mix that with my love of technology and science fiction – and you get Happy Death Day. It’s the novel manuscript and concept I’m most jazzed about. I’ve two chapters of this book that I’m proud of and nothing else. Not yet. 

Camp NanoWrimo

 

Enter the 1st of July and Camp NanoWrimo – the less pushy twin-sister to the official NanoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) which occurs in November. With Camp NanoWrimo you can select your own goal as opposed to to given 50,000 words in NanoWrimo. It can even be a time goal which is what I’ll be doing. 50 hours of writing in July. (I’m counting this time right here, by the way.) 

The 50 hours will be writing blog posts like this as well as working on Happy Death Day. I’ve got the Scrivener all fired up. I’ve got a long holiday weekend ahead, and another next weekend. I’m ready! Wish me luck!