The South Sound has a lot of big-time stuff – a volcano, a wildlife refuge, museums for cars, glass and art, our state’s own history museum and even a major golf tournament coming up. What we don’t have yet? A guide book. Which is something three local artists have just begun to fix. Writer Ken Miller and artists Chris Sharp and Sean Alexander are collaborating on the South Sound Users Guide, which has just launched on kickstarter.com, and already has 15 per cent of its budget pledged by 46 backers.
“I’m excited about the book, in part because it helps identify our region as a special part of the world,” said Miller by email. “Everything we write about will be unique and local.”
So what will be in the book? Cover art by Sharp and Alexander’s signature detailed pen-and-ink illustrations, for starters. Then there’ll be features on well-known and out-of-the-way cool places in Pierce, Thurston and Mason counties written by Miller and possibly other writers depending on the Kickstarter response (Miller intends to pay all writers). And there’ll possibly be fave-lists by folks like Vicci Martinez (live music venues) and Mark Lindquist (bookstores).
Miller has around 50 days to go to attain his $22,000 publishing budget goal via the website, then print the books in time for the LeMay museum’s grand opening in May. He already has a distribution agreement to put the books into stores across the western U.S. and Canada.
So why do we need the book?
First, says Miller, there isn’t a guide dedicated to this region, despite the fact we have over a million people and three thousand square miles. “We think the book will be useful as a guide for tourists, but also for newcomers – military folks, college students – and for long-time residents,” Miller explains. “I’ve lived here 40 years and still don’t know Olympia very well, or Shelton, or Puyallup.”
It also supports a collaborative art project, of the sort that Tacoma and Olympia do so well.
If you want to help Miller get the book off the ground, visit kickstarter.com and search for South Sound Users Guide. Depending on your pledge, you can pre-order the book, buy the original art or pay for a “feature” to be written about your own business.