October 11, 2020
We all belong to groups, either by choice or by chance of birth. These categorizations help us to organize and make sense of the world. However, it is to these same groups that we too often, in my opinion, sacrifice the individual.
It is with that in mind that I invite you to join the Character Contents project. Character Contents will be a running series of rudimentary character illustrations, like the one you see here, accompanied by a short text. Each illustration will be loosely based in the submitter’s likeness, and each text will be written by and about the same submitter.
To participate, write as few words as you can, but as many as you need to, about the ways you as an individual don’t align with the current stereotypes, narratives, and preconceived notions about your group(s). I encourage you to challenge popular opinion; to allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to discovery and change; to look deep within yourself and place the truths you find there above all else, including our nation’s current sensitivities and unwillingness to engage in discussions surrounding them. But you should also feel free to ignore my encouragements and write whatever you want.
Please include a photo (selfies are fine) with your writing and make it known how you’d like your name to appear alongside the content of your character. Your options are: (1) full name, (2) first name only, or (3) “Anonymous.”
Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If there are enough submissions to constitute a small collection, I’ll begin posting them somewhere on this site (or a new one) and keep the project going for as long as it needs to.
Brian Leli, October 2020