Hi, my name's Derek Lamson; you may know me from music projects with Quakers here in the Northwest. I'm inviting you to partner with me to raise $3,500 by Halloween 2021 to finish chapter one (of three) of my new graphic novel project, Mark V: The Opera. You can go hit the donate button now, or read a little more.
I have been fascinated with the story of the Gadarene Demoniac since I first read it (Mark 5: 1-20). Its stark contrasts of dark and light, hope and despair, its intense action and emotional warmth, its humor and surprises, (the pigs, the Legion), together add up to one of the great gospel stories, and one of the greatest operas never produced. Shoulda been... Of course, as a follower of Jesus, and a recovering alcoholic, I know perfectly well that I am the Gadarene Demoniac...
Now, I couldn't produce an opera for any money myself - so I wrote a graphic novel about... about... well, about a guy who daydreams of being the famous author of a hugely popular... opera! The kind people dress up for...
My guy's really just unemployed and a little frightened by that, and as he bikes around his old hometown of Eugene, Oregon, he thinks about the Gadarene Demoniac, and he sees him too, sees him everywhere; living under a bridge, pushing a shopping cart, standing on a streetcorner arguing with his demons. Biking around, my guy remembers too his own hard times in Eugene, and his own demons back in the day, going downtown to sell his own blood to the vampires for a pack of smokes...
In the graphic novel, we meet the Gadarene Demoniac too, there on the street, and while he is some scary, he also sings a little song to us, sings a little song in a great big voice. I wish I could sing like that. We meet him, and one dark night at the Pioneer Cemetery, we also meet my wagon-train ancestors, who had their own ideas about what to do with the homeless, and we sense a deep resonance with the indigenous, the poor, and the occupied, both in 1st century Galilee and in the 19th century Oregon Country.
Turns out I can't produce a graphic novel by myself either. Our crew starts with Newberg artist John Williams, whom we were lucky to find: another year and I wouldn't have been able to get him on the phone, (he will be too much in demand.) I know John's reading the script, sometimes I think he's reading my mind. Also we are so lucky to have gotten onto letterer, font wizard, and expert digital editor Brandon Buerkle, well-known in Quaker circles for his graphic arts professionalism, competence, and cheerfulness.
My money got us through the first 23 pages. Let's try and raise enough money, $3,500 , to finish the next 23 pages in the book; (the second half of Act 1), and let's try and get this done by Halloween - auspicious for any opera, don't you think, especially one about the Gadarene Demoniac.
Every $130 is a page; that's where the money goes.
I have goodies to give away to folks who donate at least $20, just tokens of course, but meaningful to me and maybe you: everything from signed donors' copies, to in-person presentations to your book group. Additionally we choose to say "Thank You!" with any of a dozen new songs I'm recording this summer with Nate Macy and a whole crew of talented Quakers; plus three collections of older music to share out; plus my two published books. Go sample stuff at my website and see if you like anything. I'll be giving away tons of stuff to say thanks.
OK, thanks for your time. This has been an exhilarating project, as good work as any I've done. We're confident we're going to get through to the end in good order. Please help us out with a few bucks, if you can, and come along for the ride!