Lots of good folks have written about the Write-a-House campaign in Detroit, so many that we thought we could get away with keeping our opinions to ourselves. And yet with less than a week left to go, they’re still a few grand short of their Indiegogo goal, so we decided it was time to share our thoughts on how fantastic it is: Pretty damn fantastic!
If you haven’t read about it yet, the gist is this: Write-a-House is upending the typical idea of a writer’s residency—normally, a very limited amount of time in a cozy and sequestered writing nook—by giving the writers actual residences in Detroit. Like for real giving. Forever giving. They are giving houses to writers. The only cost is agreeing to live and write in a vibrant community—in the town that brought us Jeffrey Eugenides, Donald Goines, Elmore Leonard, Marshall Mathers…—and to support a community job-training program (Young Detroit Builders) that can’t really make anyone feel bad about themselves. It’s the kind of endeavor only a place like 21st-century Detroit could inspire, and only an original, unruly character like Toby Barlow could try to make happen. It’s the kind of idea we love.
Really, it’s crazy that this is even possible to try. Normally, we would encourage you to spend your money on books and only books. But since you already have your copies of Annihilation and Quesadillas (not to mention Toby Barlow’s Babayaga, brought to you by our hardbound cousins at FSG), we say let’s make Write-a-House happen! We’re not saying you have to move to Detroit—even for just $15 you’re not just funding this fantastic endeavor, but they’ll also send you five pencils (and if you want to go Full Artisanal, we know someone who can help.) And if you contribute $50 (or more!), send us an email, we’ll send a few books to fill up your fancy Write-a-House bookbag.