I first heard about Pat Rothfuss’s Worldbuilders charity drive the first year it ran. If I’m remembering correctly, it wasn’t even called that the first year. It didn’t have a name. It was just something Pat, being his generous, selfless self, wanted to do to help those in need. He called upon the speculative fiction community to help, and boy, did they, writers and fans alike. The following year, when Worldbuilders was formed and the name officially announced, I was struck by how wonderfully apropos it was.
The notion of worldbuilding is a thing near and dear to my heart. In the books I write, I’m looking to create worlds that feel unique and wondrous, but I’m also trying make life miserable for the characters. That’s my job as a writer: to progressively make things worse for those that inhabit my made-up worlds so that the reader cares, so that they become intrigued, so that the pages turn. But the thing about Worldbuilders and Heifer International is they’re trying to do the exact opposite. They’re trying to bring stability to people’s lives, predictability. They’re trying to build communities, not sow discord. Look, I’m happy to write stories about people struggling. It’s a thing I’ve loved doing since I was young. But let me tell you, I’m ecstatic to help people do the reverse in real life.
I hadn’t heard about Heifer International before Pat’s first, nascent charity drive, but when I looked deeper into the organization he’d chosen to donate to, it immediately made a ton of sense to me. Heifer was helping people worldwide, which was important to me. It used resources wisely, extending their impact. And it brought to bear not only the resources needed, but the training as well. Knowing that donations had the ability to help not only a single family’s lives, but their community as well, was a heartwarming revelation.
As a writer, I place high value on choosing the right words. As I look at Heifer’s mission and approach, there are some key words that stand out for me. Empowerment. Sustainability. Environmentally conscious. Multipliers for change. Securing livelihoods. Heifer combines all these things into a holistic, no-nonsense approach that enables people to help themselves, and it made me even more excited to do what I could for the cause.
I’ve been lending a hand each year since and it’s been wonderful to see Worldbuilders grow in leaps and bounds. Anyone who knows Pat knows that he loves stories within stories. There are so many stories to tell here. A writer lighting a spark that starts a fire. Creatives getting creative about raising money and awareness. A community rallying for the greater good. Most of all, though, I think it’s the sense that we are helping our sisters and brothers, and that they in turn are helping more, that makes me proud to be a part of this whole grand thing.
But the story has only just begun. I’m intensely curious to see where it’s headed. Challenges lie ahead, certainly, but together we can overcome them. Let’s keep the story moving, shall we?
Today's post was written by award-winning author Bradley Beaulieu. Beaulieu is a long-time supporter of Worldbuilders. Check out their work before the fundraiser ends on December 14, or give a Heifer gift via our catalog.