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Guidelines for Creating Roses Tribute Gifts

Due to the personal and sensitive nature of tribute gifts, our Web page(s) showcasing Roses Tribute Gifts will be moderated.

To initiate the Roses tributary process, donors should fill in the “Given IN HONOR OF / IN MEMORY OF …” box on your PayPal donation form. This information will then be passed on to me, and I will contact you via e-mail as soon as I can.

If the text of your tribute fits in the box on the PayPal donations form, go ahead and send the text to me at the time of donation, making sure to specify

1.  Whether your tribute is IHO (in honor of) or IMO (in memory of) someone.

2.  The name/initials of the person you are honoring/memorializing (the honorand).

3.  How you (the honorant) wish to be identified (full name or nickname, initials, pseudonym, anonymous).

and using the virgule (forward slash) to indicate line breaks; e.g.,

IMO Taylor / from dtp / Taylor, d. November 17, 2010 / Our sweet boy for 14.5 years. We had one helluva great journey together — one that I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

If what you wish to say in tribute does not fit in the box on the PayPal donation form, let me know the answer to numbers 1, 2 and 3 above in order to trigger a response, and I’ll contact you by e-mail about the rest.

If for some reason you haven’t heard from me within a couple of days after donating to Roses and designating your donation a Tribute Gift, let us know (recommended subject heading: Tribute Gift).

If you still don’t get a personal reply within a reasonable time, check this website’s What’s Blooming news page for updates. If there are problems which are causing delays, I’ll announce them there.

Who can pay tribute?

Anyone who donates to Roses and/or purchases original Roses artworks. There is no donation minimum applied to tribute gifts.

This is an egalitarian forum.

Everyone has an equal voice, no matter how large or small your donation to Roses.

Who can receive tribute?

Any sentient being to whom you wish to pay your respects in a public forum, including nonhuman animals (dogs, cats and other domesticated species, as well as wild animals). I do draw the line at corporations which I, contrary to what U.S. law declares, do not believe are persons. But you can certainly pay homage to the persons who staff or own a corporation, as individuals and/or a group (e.g., “In Honor Of: Everyone on call in Thornton Hospital’s Urgent Care facility on the night of 6 August 2004 …”).

This is your chance to give a shout-out for the many unsung heroes of our everyday lives.

Honorands needn’t have anything at all to do with gynecologic or other cancers.

Moreover, there are no gender or age restrictions on donors or their honorands, who may be living (“In Honor Of”) or not (“In Memory Of”).

Can I and/or my honorand remain anonymous?

You can pay tribute as “Anonymous,” if you like (alternatively, you can use just initials for first/last names, or even an online moniker of choice, both for yourself and the honorand). Pseudonyms (a handle, screen name, alias) did not originate with online message boards and blogging, but have been around for millennia, and continue to serve a useful rhetorical function in a world where those who publish need (or just want) a public persona kept separate from their personal identity.

While the use of personæ and pseudonyms outside of a role-playing forum may strike today’s socially-oriented Netizen as somewhat old-fashioned, I would encourage younger donors to remember that not everyone is used to living life out loud via Facebook and Twitter, etc. In particular, older generations who did not grow up with social media may value their privacy more than they do online community, and may have deliberately chosen to cut a low profile on the Internet. And worries about the consequences of too much personal disclosure online can be an even more urgent matter for those dealing with a devastating illness such as cancer.

This means that each of us should be careful what personal details we disclose about an honorand in our tribute, be it text or picture. When in doubt, you’re probably best off asking the honorand; but if that’s not an option, it is advisable to err on the side of caution (especially where pictures are concerned).

Once you’ve published content on the open Internet, you can’t take it back.

Our Tribute Gifts page is a public forum, open to the big search engines (e.g., Google, Bing) and to anyone with Internet access (“good guys” and bad).

So remember this when you prepare your tribute, and be prudent about what you say/show to ensure that what is intended as a celebratory gift from the heart doesn’t backfire on the recipient.

What can I say in a tribute?

There are few cultural conventions governing what you should or should not say in an online panegyric.

In general, the common practices of good writing apply. Don’t just rush off the first thing that comes to mind, but put some thought into your tribute, and pay attention to craft. After all, it’s going to be around for a while, and lots of people are going to read it. So challenge yourself to come up with just the right message and sentiment. Think carefully about what you want to say, and what your greater purpose is in saying it. Write a draft, let it sit for a bit, then revise it … several times. And use a mechanical spelling checker (most e-mail clients have one) on the final draft before you send it out for online publication, in order to catch typos and add professional polish.

Remember that eloquence doesn’t require overblown language. In this particular context, a short, simple statement of affection (“For my Dad, who’s been there for me from day 1, through tears and tantrums, spit-up and smiles … I love you!”) is as effective as anything more formal and elaborate. Even silence can speak eloquently. So it’s perfectly alright to say nothing at all in a Roses tribute beyond publishing the names of honorand and honorant.

As moderator, I will not censor anyone’s tribute, and I will allow donors plenty of latitude when it comes to using creative, colorful language to represent the depths and contradictions of the human experience. To my mind, the best panegyrics are honest and true to the persons they praise, not full of insincere flattery. But tributes which offend the recipient or are especially indecorous will be returned to the donor for editing.

In those rare cases where a tribute is completely out of sync with the spirit in which Roses Tribute Gifts are offered, and the donor and I are unable to come to some meeting of the minds about what constitutes appropriate content, I retain the right to refuse to post the tribute in question.

How do I say it?

That’s up to you. I encourage you to experiment with the genre of online panegyric, even play a little with generic expectations.

You’re free to use prose or poetry for this (including rap-style lyrics, as long as you go easy on the profanity, which no one’s grandmother wants to read or be remembered by).

(To learn more about the poetics of rap music — i.e., the literary study of rap’s use of rhythm, complex rhyme schemes, allusive and metaphoric language — click/tap here.)

And no, you cannot, as of now, submit a rap-music tribute: only the textual lyrics for this will be accepted.

(We do not yet accept audio/video tributes, either.)

Can I say it in pictures instead of words?

You can. I will accept graphic, in lieu of verbal, tributes, but there are more restrictions on these.

All graphic tributes — photos, vector drawings, digital paintings — will be resized and optimized (reformatted) for Web publication, as needed.

The size limit is 590 pixels wide. You can either supply a graphic that is less than or equal to 590 pixels wide, or have me resize the image for you.

Be prepared to do your own cropping, since I can’t take on image-editing tasks for donors.

Must a tribute be in English?

No. You may pay tribute in any language and character (script) you wish.

Some character sets will be more difficult than others for me to render on the Web, but I’m confident that, together, we can figure it out.

If need be, I can always convert your non-English tribute to an image, captioned by an English translation for those who use Assistive Technology (AT) to read Web pages.

Is there a word limit?

No. Given the trend to pithy online statement (e.g., Twitter has a 140-character limit, which this single sentence exceeds!), I would recommend that you restrict yourself to 250 words or less. But if you have good reason to be more verbose than that, go for it.

Remember, though, that crafting a focused, poignant tribute usually entails disciplining a runaway voice.

The 19th-century American writer and humorist, Mark Twain (the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835–1910), nicely explained the process in 16 words (73 characters): “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Panel from "Roses", a mixed-media work by Tuck Contreras

To join with the Roses community in paying tribute to those who add meaning to and make a difference in our lives, donate $20, $35, $50 USD, or whatever you can today!

We make it easy to donate (just click on the above donate button). Pay by credit card or debit card, or use your PayPal account.

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