Detroit sci-fi writer seeks aid — burglars took everything but his desk

by

comment
Detroit sci-fi author Clarence Young, aka Zig Zag Claybourne - SCREENCAP FROM CLARENCE YOUNG'S YOUCARING.COM PAGE
  • Screencap from Clarence Young's youcaring.com page
  • Detroit sci-fi author Clarence Young, aka Zig Zag Claybourne

Detroit sci-fi writer Clarence Young, better known to some of his readers as Zig Zag Claybourne, seems like a really nice guy. He's the author of several books, including The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan, a Buckaroo Banzai-inspired adventure featuring two brothers gunning for a villain named the False Prophet Buford.

And we're not kidding about that "nice guy" stuff. He turned up in last year's story by Aaron Robertson about Detroit's Afrofuturist enclaves. Robertson had called him "affable," and noted that Young refused to accept payment for one of his books, telling Robertson, "That's how you create community."



Despite his affability, Young can also be pretty frank about the challenges of trying to convince literary agents that there's an untapped market for black sci-fi protagonists. In the meanwhile, he self-publishes — and, as anybody familiar with self-publishing knows, the financial returns are often small. He admits that 2015 and 2016 have been financially difficult years for him.

Well, with the arrival of the new year, things have gotten that much tougher for Young. A job he thought was all lined up fell apart, leaving him facing the possibility of being homeless. As if that weren't enough, on Friday, Jan. 13, his house was so thoroughly robbed that practically all he has left is his writing desk.



As they say, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Now he needs help to get his living situation squared away, and to replace many of the items that have been stolen from him.

"I’ve always provided help," Young says. "Asking for help isn’t my go-to."

Now, however, help is what he needs: "I’ll be tapped out very, very soon. I’m not a frivolous person, and I’m generally frugal, but right now I can’t do this alone. I know everybody has their own loads. Any help would be deeply appreciated."

Since he posted that message five days ago, only about $2,500 in donations has come in, enough to advance him 1/8 of the way toward his $20,000 goal. But do you think Young is complaining? Hardly. He seems to be sending personal thank-you notes to all his donors, and seems genuinely humbled by what assistance has been provided.

"The donations are wonderful, but the gift is way more than monetary," Young has posted. "The world is full of false narratives selling dread and isolation right next to Wonder bread. You guys erased that and wrote another story."

To donate to Clarence Young's website, click here.

Tags

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.