From the Editor: Vizzue's Genesis

Posted on September 24, 2010

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Vizzue: How, What and Why?

I like to write and I like to do ASL storytelling. I like to read and I like to watch ASL storytelling. I admit that I like to show people what I wrote or created. Yes, it scares me to death; what if nobody likes it? Is this good? Am I kidding myself? As frightened as I always am, I can never resist the urge to try and show my stuff to the world. 

I can’t explain this urge. It’s like going to the bathroom in a filthy gas station toilet that looks like the bathroom in the Lost-The-Valium-Butt-Plug-Pill scene in “Trainspotting.”  It’s squeamish and terrifying. But if you gotta go, you gotta go. The pressure…. you’re pinching those cheeks… and you just can’t hold it in any more. So you just brace yourself, open the door and go in. (Write and/or create) You line the toilet seat with 17 layers of toilet paper. (Show it to a few friends for affirmation) You sit down carefully.  Then you unclench those cheeks, open the bay doors and it’s bombs away. (Post it on a blog, YouTube, Facebook, or whatever) Afterwards, you wash your hands up to your shoulders with scalding hot water and at least 23 pumps of the soap dispenser, and hope for the best. (Await the reaction)

That powerful urge is why I’ve written for publications, had a blog, posted my ASL stories on Facebook and so on. It’s just something that burns strongly within. It’s the “I-Have-The-Gotta-Go-Badly-and-There’s-Only-a-Filthy-Gas-Station-Toilet” urge to create and to share what I’ve created, for better or for worse. Thing is, having a blog and posting videos on social network websites wasn’t cutting it anymore. I wanted to be a part of something bigger. I just didn’t know what. Yet.

As much as I enjoy reading newspaper and magazine articles, I often wished I could watch articles and essays in ASL. I’m betting that many of you who are reading this feel the same way. If you don’t, I think you just don’t realize it yet.

One day a friend, Mark Gobble, emailed me and said, “You should start a deaf-run web magazine.” The notion struck me like a bolt of lightning. The seed was planted: a web site with good, informative and entertaining stuff in both English text and in ASL. Suddenly it all clicked. “Sounds like fun,” I thought and that began a journey that culminated with the formation of this website.

So it isn’t putting it mildly to say that the web magazine here at Vizzue is a project dear to me as a writer, a ASL storyteller and as a deaf person.  I started asking around and the response was overwhelmingly positive. So off I went.

Over the next several months and many conversations with various people, the basic foundations of Vizzue were laid. Vizzue’s writers and ASL essayists will create columns that report on, analyze, provide commentary, create works of fiction, offer opinions, and arguments and investigate not only deaf related issues, news and events, but also anything under the sun, through the unique lens of deaf people. Our website will be a safe haven for ASL Literature via the many forms of storytelling and ASL poetry.

Thanks to a twist of fate, I hooked up with my current Vizzue partners, Ben Moore and Mike MacAulay. The three of us have been working feverishly towards the realization of the Vizzue dream ever since. So here we are, hanging up the “Open for Business” sign and throwing open our doors.

There are many talented deaf writers clacking away furiously at their keyboards. Their fine work is either posted on blogs all over the Internet or simply never seen by the world.

There are also many extraordinary talented and skilled people shaping the unique spatial and visual language of American Sign Language into marvelous works of literature. These works, too, are scattered all over the world wide web in YouTube postings or are seen by a small circle of friends and no one else.

Vizzue will strive to provide them with a home. We want be a place where all that goodly stuff can be collected and placed in one beautiful and electrifying spot: Vizzue. With a home, we can push each other to new heights.  Our goal: to inform, to provoke and to entertain.

Of course, our beginnings are humble and at this point, we merely hope to have a little fun with this. We hope you will, too.

We invite you to join us on this journey. As the cliche goes, onward and upward. After all, given the choice, what other direction is there to go?

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