Thursday, September 12, 2013

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SOUND THE ALARM TODAY! We need a collective will ~ immediately ~ to protect the penguins in Antarctica, to protect the planet & to preserve life on earth as we know it! PRETTY PLEASE click on this link and support my effort to spread awareness about the accelerating Antarctica ice melt via a “novel” true story surrounding my experience in Antarctica in February 2013. I cannot move ahead with your help to promote my cause with your Facebook, Twitter, Lindedin, and other social media outlets. Will you take a few moments today to SHARE my link with your friends? Namaste. 

Welcome to my 'novel' true story Kickstarter Campaign! Thanks for visiting and reading my book proposal and thanks for caring about our penguins and our planet. Please share my video and link back to my Kickstarter campaign on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. XOX


Beyond my personal dream to have this work read and published, my ultimate dream is to do something profound to help preserve our precious penguins and sustain planet earth so future generations can enjoy life as we have known it during our lifetimes. There has been a lot of dialogue regarding the changing climate among the scientific community, but my aim is to delicately knit my "mostly" true Antarctica travel narrative with planet conscious awareness. With your support and kindness perhaps we, as a human species, can take a few giant steps for mankind. That's my ultimate dream, but I gotta start somewhere!:)
Kickstarter Campaign
FYI, this Kickstarter campaign is an "all or nothing" campaign that lasts for only a few weeks. Pretty, please - check out the "REWARDS LINEUP" and becme an ambassador and pledge today if your heart feels good about it. THANK YOU! XOX
What a great way to help the artistic and inventive reach their dreams and goals and make new friends across the planet!
Ten hugs for Kickstarter!
                                                             Morningstar, the Hermitess

This proposal is also available on my blog, along with a Kickstarter daily BLOG post so you can follow along with my experience and progress. Thanks so much!
"Backpacking Antarctica with a White Violin"
Forlorn American backpacker plays her white violin for penguins on a deserted Antarctica ice field and attracts the attention of a lonely Russian spy. 
Yes, this backpacker was me:) 

The Book Genre - A 'novel' true travel story and photographic journey based on a true story.
The Book Premise - As the vessel tossed me about the ship while it dared the Drake Passage, wondrous mysteries were beginning to unfold among the passengers, all of whom were some of the most interesting characters ever dodging one another in a swaying dining room of flying plates.
Thread notation: 
Aboard this ship were the grandsons of the famous Antarctica explorers Shackleton and Scott along with an NBC news crew which added a layer of remarkable diversity to the mix of personalities on board this research ship.
Shackleton and Scott were invited to give presentations on the perils of their progenitors, but however enthralling their lectures and slide shows, they couldn't compete with the motley mix of ship denizens who wandered the decks with Dramamine and unlit Cuban cigars, with odd musical instruments and satellite spy equipment.

                 I wasn't exaggerating
            about the spy equipment!I
Yet underlying all the confusion and reverberation, sliced somewhere between the gourmet dining and evening cocktails, something else was tick, tick, ticking. It came and it went. It went up and it went down. It manifested itself in obvious ways and then faded into the shadows. It was a feeling, a lingering sensation about the only single man aboard, a Russian I nicknamed, Sly the Spy. When I looked for him he was no where to be found. When I least expected it, he was just next to me, a little flirty smirk shining from his otherwise pursed lips, strumming his mandolin. I have to admit, he almost had me at "hello beautiful" (actually "Ti takAya krasIvaya" translated for me by an odd English chap with a a Pinocchio nose). What effectively peaked my curiosity about the Russian, other than his piercing aquamarine eyes, was his strange secret antennas, his professional camera equipment, a wallet stuffed with hundred dollar bills, and his cleverly executed Houdini acts. 

This is the front side of the icy slope where I played my violin for the penguins! And broke my elbow! And fell in love!
This is the front side of the icy slope where I played my violin for the penguins! And broke my elbow! And fell in love!
Once the ship had braved the Drake Passage and found some less volatile water, we all downed our sea sickness meds, had a gigantic breakfast, and disembarked in our zodiacs, eight people at a time. We dressed in thick woolens and masks like overstuffed creatures skinned in yellow slicks. I hid my white violin within my layers, not wanting to be discovered. I had a plan to hike to the opposite side of the mountain and play my heart out for the throng of new penguin mothers and their babies.

Penguin babies are too cute to behold!
Penguin babies are too cute to behold!
My theory about music and animals required testing. Would they notice how bad I played or not? Remember 'Out of Africa' and the record player in the wild Savannah? Yeah, that sort of nonsense mixed with a bit of 'Sound of Music' inspiration. Luckily, I have a decent voice that afforded the ability to drown out the shriek of my violin masterpiece!
What I didn't prepare for, was just what happened. The spy spied on me from the mountain top with his long range binoculars and caught me red handed, or rather WHITE handed, my white violin in my hands and at my chin. Oh the tears of embarrassment! I laughed so hard at myself, tears rolled down my cheeks.
 And that's how it all started. 
That thing, that crazy, wacky, misty and glorious thing that lurks in the shadows of the heart finally revealed itself, opening a door to a world beyond anything I ever imagined. 
After the Russian and I concluded our laughing recital, we sat in the snow and he handed me a red apple from his pack telling me it had healing properties. At least I think that is what he said. I hoped it could heal my violin playing, I explained, and he nodded with a little glimmer in his eyes. 
Before I could finish the apple, the sun disappeared and it began to snow and we feared we might miss the last zodiac of the day. The falling snow mixed with various sizes of hail became a whiteout in less than three minutes as we huddled together struggling back up the hill, then slipping all over the ice on the way back down the other side. Then the wind picked up. To hurry over windy hills with new icy snow atop hidden ancient ice wasn't such a good idea. I slipped and fell against an ice boulder and felt something crack in my elbow. He reached to help me up, but the pain was too excruciating and I told him just to leave me there, to go catch the boat, save himself, but he refused or maybe he just didn't understand. "Bol'shoye spasibo!" Thank you very much was just about the only Russian phrase I knew! 
There among the whitest of whites in the world, among the honking penguins and incoherent elephant seals lounging by the shoreline, there on the peak of no mans land, light snow falling all around us, he looked at me in just a certain way, a slight smile on his lips, knowing in his eyes, and my heart blossomed like a new red bud in spring. 
The hermit and the spy - to be continued... 

The manuscript will have a maximum of 120,000 words, some of my Antarctica photography and will incorporate the following themes:
1. Traveling (as a backpacker) & Antarctica advice via story line
2. Scientific data on climate change in Antarctica
3. Historical threads as simile - camping now vs then
4. Planet - circle of life begins and ends in Antarctica
5. The life and times of Antarctic wildlife, penguins and krill 
6. Comical chronicles of the eccentric - laugh your guts out stuff!
7. Philosophical underpinnings
8. Psychological undertones
9. 'White' as metaphor
10. Love, laughter and a little bit of violin music! 

 KRILL threadDid I mention this keystone species in the Southern Ocean? The krill thread will make you laugh and break your heart. Watch for it! Meantime, here's a short krill snippet for your entertainment. Click on the krill photo!
Story Pitch Conclusion
And so, that's sort of the not-so-fast pitch or outline. I'm hoping you'd like to see the story come to life in all it's glory and detail. It is a true story. It's a crazy story and if you don't mind, I would enjoy writing it as a 'novel' based on a true story or as I call it a "novel" true story. With this unique genre narrative, I can make use of the "creative privileges" I'm accustom to using in my novel writing and in the process create a new-fangled genre of writing. 
Even though 'Backpacking Antarctica with a White Violin" is almost an unbelievable story, it seems to me like a fresh story, one that hasn't been told a thousand times. 


WHY my Antarctica story NOW?


I have a LOT of very gripping stories to write, all tucked in bins with pink and blue ribbons buried in dark closets, but after sketching out a few Kickstarter campaigns for various books and projects, I decided to focus on the one I thought was the most timely, the one that might contribute most to protecting our planet. I believe my Antarctica story has relevance to serious global concerns at this moment in time and therefore may be more widely read. Additionally, an entertaining story has a better chance of making it t the big screen, which my ultimate intention.
If the ice keeps melting, all eighteen penguin species are in trouble. In two of the Antarctica species I filmed, the population has declined by fifty percent over the past thirty years! 
I'm no scientist, but during my time on the white icy slopes, I became a set of neutral eyes on the ground, I became very concerned eyes on the ground, but I wasn't the only set of eyes on the ground.

Welcome to the Continent!
Welcome to the Continent!
NBC was there with their TODAY crew, filming a story or two themselves. In fact, Kerry Sanders has used some of my footage (with permission) in his TODAY piece (listen to the background voice shouting "Oh, my goodness!" - that' my video capture!

You can see the Today piece at the following link. and you can see the other TODAY piece, along with my same video capture on Kerry's other piece, here 
THANK YOU KERRY! Here's the NBC link to my video capture with credits -
Sorry, for the asides. Are you still with me?
So anyway, It is one thing to listen to the various debates about climate change and excess man-made pollution and quite another to see it happening in front of your face. The planet IS sick - it's not just a theory! Hearing the fears from those who spend a good deal of their year in Antarctica, I had my head turned. I'm really scared about the decreasing ice, decreasing krill, my penguin friends and the future of their families. Look how darn personable they are!

Penguins are so much like people, their little bodies going about their business without a care in the world. They probably don't know their numbers are dwindling. They just keep smiling!
Penguins are so much like people, their little bodies going about their business without a care in the world. They probably don't know their numbers are dwindling. They just keep smiling!
But they are in danger! For instance, the temperature at a research station in the middle of West Antarctica has warmed by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958. 
PENGUIN PLIGHT - 50% loss of some penguin species!
Warming temperatures = ice melt
1.Jeopardizes the safety of penguin breeding areas
2.Harms their food supply - krill need ice to survive and thrive
3.Causes increased chick and adult mortality 
Climate oddness is being experienced all over the world. Everyone agrees on that. BUT, it shouldn't be happening before our eyes like this! 
Nowadays it isn't possible to participate in an Antarctica expedition and ignore your eyes and ears regarding the acceleration of ice melt. For the TODAY show piece on the ice melt and possibly some more of my footage, please click on the following links.

"Dancing with the Stars" - 1st Place Wildlife Photo Competition
"Dancing with the Stars" - 1st Place Wildlife Photo Competition
I believe a love story set in Antarctica will allow readers a first hand account of what is happening at the South Pole, both lovely and alarming. Although, I am really a "save-the-penguins" activist, I am also concerned about the rapidity with which we are losing ice and gaining sea level rise, losing important species, and gaining a crazy climate.
Since few people ever get the opportunity to visit Antarctica in person, the mega importance of this continent is NOT really in the forefront of public consciousness. It is my hope, that by way of my story, more people will stop to think about Antarctica and begin to worry about the health and well-being of this land mass and it's significance to the continued existence of life as we know it. So this current event is the main reason I selected THIS particular project for my first Kickstarter campaign. The rest of my story projects must wait a while longer in their dark hiding places.

Did you know - Each member of the King penguin family has their own distinctive voice? AMAZING! Their own distinctive voice!
Did you know - Each member of the King penguin family has their own distinctive voice? AMAZING! Their own distinctive voice!

      A Little History about the Hermit!

There is likely a reason I live in a cabin at eight thousand feet with a few thousand books instead of a mate, but that doesn't really mean I am a staunch, undeviating, unkempt hermit, but that may be what people tend to whisper about me. In a way, I suppose I like being a hermit, or really, a hermitess, among the sweet smell of the pines, in a peaceful place where there is time to ponder the meaning of life. Yesterday I saw a beautiful deer and her Bambi baby. Today, from my kitchen window, I watched a fox snooping around. Tomorrow the moose may come back with her yearling. How awesome is that? On the other hand, I don't believe I would cherish this lifestyle as much if I didn't have the contrast of chaos that abides in the big cities of my three-month-long annual trips.
As a successful entrepreneur who ran five businesses concurrently in the 80's and 90's, I can accomplish any task I put my mind to. With that said, I have put almost all my writing and painting projects on hold for the past 6 years because I knew that some of the places I wanted to see and experience in the world would be gone if I waited much longer. Tibet was one of those places and if you know even a little about that situation, you'll understand what I was thinking.To know more about Tibet you are welcome to visit the Wild Yak Adventures website I created for my two Tibetan private guide friends.

Yes, indeed, I am concerned about this magnificent and mysterious place! My sensitivities have been awakened! The ice fields are cracking off and the seas are polluted even as far south as Antarctica!
Yes, indeed, I am concerned about this magnificent and mysterious place! My sensitivities have been awakened! The ice fields are cracking off and the seas are polluted even as far south as Antarctica!
Since my Antarctica extravaganza earlier this year, I've now traveled to every continent and I have even lost count of how many countries. The single travelers' life may be exciting and enthralling, but it also can resemble the cave of a hermit at times. Unlike most American travelers, I have never enjoyed the limitations of group travel so basically I'm a lone traveler who either lives with locals, stays in hostels, works in orphanages or otherwise lives among the people I visit. I may not know every tourist site in every place I have been, but I know the culture, I understand and appreciate the lives of the locals, and I have developed precious friendships I cherish.
Along the way there has been danger, intrigue, fear and suffering, both at home and abroad. Along the way I have experienced some of the most tender moments of my days on earth. Illusive as love can seem, I have enjoyed more than my share of enduring connections and poignant farewells.

     The World Can Change Your Soul

As a quasi backpacker (gave up the big pack a few years back) I know the ropes of cheap travel, but it's not because I didn't have the funds to travel like other westerners, it's because I found my kindred people among travelers who understood that traveling, that being in other places among strange cultures and customs and religions wasn't about tour buses and filling the eyes with ancient sites. Do you recall the television series, 'I Led Three Lives"? Well, my sort of travel is more about "living a series of extremely different lives" rather than gathering snapshots of pretty tourist attractions. Now that I have lived so many unusual lives, I need to write and publish those incredibly crazy, strange and life-altering experiences - beginning with my Antarctica adventure.
The world has the power to change the soul if you sit still long enough.                                                              Marilyn Morningstar
THE WORLD CAN CHANGE YOUR SOUL and that is part of the message of "Backpacking Antarctica with a White Violin."
So with that brief explanation, I hope you can see why I have put my creative life on hold for so many years, put my writing projects away in a closet, and only recently set up my easel and palette again. Besides, with the banking disaster, as shocking as it is, I am no longer secure, I am living on the edge and I must find a way to make a living again. It' has come to this - either EARN INCOME via finishing my book projects or give up the philanthropic projects I support like my orphanage site, You can get a feel for my writing skills on this website also. Worldwide Orphanages. or my last novel, "The Last Snapshot".

We are born, we exist and we leave. Time stands still for no one. If we miss our chance to do the thing we are called to do, we will never get a second chance.

I have dozens of new stories to write, but this one tears at my heart. Through this campaign I HOPE to find an agent or publisher, but if I don't, I will self publish. I avoided that option like the plague for years, but self publishing is no longer looked down upon. 'Ratings' have changed everything! Amazon has an amazing publishing program and even offers promotional packages. It's time I get busy. 

Honestly, I've only written the first few pages of this story and that might not seem like a lot, but the beginning is always the most difficult part. I suspect I will spend another good week on those three pages before I am satisfied. The rest will be gravy - NOT! However, once I get rolling I can produce quite a number of pages everyday. Ah, starting! Well, my Kickstarter program won't be over until mid-November so I have scheduled myself to begin writing seriously November 1st and work through December 15th. I will be back at it January 15th at the latest, and work through May. So by May I should be done writing the book (HOPEFULLY!) and placing my photographs. I am not sure what editor I am going to use, but the editing process can take 30-60 days or longer depending on the editor.
My intention is to produce the hardback version of the book in high resolution, offset printing on high quality print paper combined with photo stock inserts, with a fold out page for the premier shots of the trip. I have discovered that it is far too expensive to use a vanity press for a project like this, not to mention the size limitations. Therefore I will be using a printer with experience in this type of book, but that requires running off more copies since they don’t do small runs. Of course, I need to complete the storytelling,  but I have started laying out the book just to get an idea of how it will look. Although the story-line must be captivating, I want the colorful prints to be stunning and eye catching since one of the key purposes of the book is to allow the readers to ‘feel’ Antarctica, to fall in love with Antarctica and to thereby want to protect Antarctica and its creatures.
Meantime, I can be preparing some of my Kickstarter reward packages during May and June, Hopefully in July the book will go to print and be ready to send out by the end of the month. August will be spent on making sure every single Backer has been sent their reward plus, for some Backers, a little unexpected surprise package to show my appreciation. In September I will begin to ship out copies of the books to libraries and other book outlets.
If I have promotional funds left over, I will begin to plan my promotional campaign lecture tour for the fall. If not, I might consider creating a second Kickstarter campaign to fund the promotional campaign and the film.
The Annoying Numbers 

I tried to calculate all the printing (so expensive when including color photography!), editing, shipping, paper and ink, and Kickstarter rewards, but I'm sure I left stuff off. 
Oops! See!
"Kickstarter Fees & Reward Fulfillment" include: - Kickstarter takes a 5% fee from the funds collected. - Amazon payments takes another 3-5% for credit card processing. - My estimated printing and mailing expenses for Kickstarter rewards (excluding shipments outside the US, to which a shipping fee is added) and interview expenses with Antarctica experts like Paul Niklen (interviews to also be used in film next year). 
I've never done this before, so, of course, I've forgotten a dozen more things! Still, I WILL make this happen with your gracious enthusiasm, I promise you that!

If this goal is reached and I'm lucky enough to consider stretch goals it would be fantastic if some of my Kickstarters would be willing to put in some pledges for promotion via a college lecture tour. Like a movie production or even a product, you can have a wonderful product, a wonderful book, but without the proper promotion and exposure, that wonderful product can sit in storage for years. And since my stories have already endured decades of dark spaces, I'm hoping 'Backpacking Antarctica with a White Violin' never has to endure that fate! But seriously, getting out and about, speaking to young adults about the diminishing penguin populations and getting the book into readers hands is going to take a lot of work and stamina, not to mention money. I realize this is a stretch goal, so I won't elaborate at the moment.
When the tour is over and the buzz remains, my intention is to create a series of young children's TRAVEL/ART books, entitled,Morningstar Universe, one of which I already started on Antarctica, named Mr. Penguins Plight! OR, if I get super lucky, I will get to that series AFTER I produce the "Backpacking Antarctica with a While Violin" FILM! Luckily I live about 20 miles from Robert Redford and the Park City Film Festival! Oh, I'm so excited just thinking about all the possibilities!  

My ultimate STRETCH GOAL, which maybe belongs to another Kickstarter campaign would be to make a full-length feature film of 'Backpacking Antarctica with a White Violin'. My experience as a director and producer is limited to a small theater I once owned and operated, 'Treasure House Theater', but producing a film has always been on my list of lifetime goals. Having a Kickstarter fan club behind me surely would give me the impetus to keep moving forward with my goals!

So, maybe you guessed...I'm hoping you'll support my dreams! If YES, you are a true-blue angel. If YES, I will be jumping up and down in my PJ's in front of my fireplace at my cabin (just imagine it...silly...goofy...giddy - maybe I should invite the neighbors over for popcorn?) Ok, I promise to film that event and email it to you with a big kiss for your support!

Other Ways to Help
Stand on top of the nearest mountain with a loud speaker and scream as loud as you can so your friends, neighbors, sisters, brothers (I could just use the word 'siblings', but it sounds prettier this way), aunts and uncles (otherwise known as family members), co-workers and especially FACEBOOK and Twitter friends can hear about my Kickstarter Project. Or, if you don't want to scream, these are the other alternatives: Tweet, let your fingers fly! Or another cool idea, invite the entire neighborhood to your house for a free BBQ, but don't let them eat until they make a pledge! Hehe! Or, get the neighborhood kids together to offer a "Support a Dream" carwash. Then share my Kickstarter campaign page and ask the customers if they would like to make a small pledge to help my dream come true. You get the idea. There are lots of ways to spread the word and support the dream!
Would you tell me what you think, your opinion, offer any suggestions, be a reader or editor, help in any way? BTW, if you know any of the following like-minded, environmental friendly, would you give them a holler, send an email with a link to this campaign? Supercalifragilisticeexpialidocious!
Leonardo DeCaprio
George Clooney
Cameron DiazRobert RedfordKate BlanchettEd Begley, Jr.Edward NortonDaryl Hannah Julia Louis-DreyfusPierce Brosnan Will FerrellTom HanksBrad PittMatt DamonJulia RobertsMatt DillionCharlice TheronBill MoyerMichael MooreAl GoreTed TalksPBSBBC
They say on Kickstarter that the only way to reach your goal is from the participation of your friends, neighbors and family. Well, just to let you know, you're it. You're my family, in a very philosophical way, in a global way, in an online way, and you will soon be my new best friends! I DO have over 500 friends on Facebook and another 300 travelers I've met along the way, but as far as a community, as far as support and willingness to commit money on behalf of my success, that takes a special personality, a truly emphatic person who FEELS the joy for the success of others. I experience that joy every time I am able to make life a little better for an orphan, every time I spare some short change for someone less fortunate than myself, every time I do my small share to support another Kickstarter campaign and see it succeed. It is this camaraderie that makes us a true community of same-minded people. 
With your willingness, with you speaking to your friends and relatives about my project, I'm sure this project is going to happen! So, let me know if you have questions. I'm happy to correspond with all kind souls who offer pocket advice for hermits.:)
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME, INTEREST, SUPPORT, HELP AND ENTHUSIASM. Thank you in advance for anything you do to help me achieve this dream even if you just spread the word. 
"Above all, I hope all my Backers will pledge their hearts to protecting the planet and act upon THAT pledge each and every day. That would be the fastest way to really make a difference."                                       Morningstar 

I will be eternally grateful to anyone who believes in me and with enough enthusiasm to make a financial pledge. 

Do you think I look silly with two sets of glasses on? I look silly, I know I do, but there is a story behind those wind goggles, a pretty funny story, but don't worry, I'm not going to hold out on you. The goggle story will be in the book! :)
Do you think I look silly with two sets of glasses on? I look silly, I know I do, but there is a story behind those wind goggles, a pretty funny story, but don't worry, I'm not going to hold out on you. The goggle story will be in the book! :)

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