Saturday, a few friends and I went to the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence for a writing conference sponsored by Breadloaf. I love Breadloaf workshops because (of the two I’ve been to, including this one) I always meet people as passionate love writing and/or Lawrence as I. This one was no different. The speaker was Erwin Thomas, an “artivist” from Brooklyn, New York. He began with a monologue about a man who gave selflessly until he himself became as needy as the people he was helping. The message was to give to ourselves as artists and writers, before we can give to others, because if not, we end as the ones needing help. This spoke to me, because there are times when I feel like on the outside I’m working incessantly for others, but I’m dying, starving, on the inside for someone to feed me. I didn’t put my hand up when he asked, but I definitely can relate. Like my mom says, if we can’t feed ourselves, who can? During the breakout sessions, I signed up for the one about images in our world, where we drew connections between the visual and the written in this photographic world we live in. As an (occasional) artist, I can appreciate that relationship. The theme of the conference was “What’s going on in your world? What are you doing about it?” a very appropriate topic, considering what my project is about. I found writers, activists and artists (some who are all) and a community to share my work, and cultivate my ideas. I’ll definitely be going back. http://lawrencewgith.blogspot.com
Since I’ve started Whats Good in the Hood, not only have I met people doing great stuff, but my own closely knit friends are taking up their crosses and doing creative and innovative things to make a difference. (I cant disclose what they’re starting yet, but soon enough I won’t be able to shut up about it) To have people willing to go on a limb and start something out of nothing because of this project, that is one thing I can truly say I’m honored by.
When I started What’s Good in the Hood, it was just an idea for a program. I can start a paper about my community to promote city pride. I saw possibilities, but they were all just hypothetical in my mind. Today, when I went to the Boys and Girls Club, the Y, and the public library to promote the paper, I realized how my ideas could actually be implemented into reality. None of my ideas are original, of course, there are people out there who have been working everyday for years to make Lawrence a better place. I’m beginning to see the connections that are just waiting to be made. This project, or any project, isn’t just by me, or any particular individual. We become part of the bigger picture,merely players on a much bigger stage. With every new person I meet, another connection is made, and the stage becomes that much larger. Today, I discovered the rich, diverse community I live in, and common dream we all have for it. Now my role switches from simply reporting to participating and, and more importantly, connecting. To all the people who took a copy and read it, passed it along, to all those who asked how they could help, and to those who offered advice, thanks.
The paper is out! I can now actually feel the luscious copy that is the product of my hardwork and my dreams between my fingers. I’ve been working on this for over a year, and its finally materializing. I can only encourage others to reach for the stars; the feeling of accomplishment is ecstacy .
I’m so excited to see the reaction I’m going to get from the community. I hope they feel the way I do. I hope they want to redeem their name as Lawrencians as much as I do. A lot of people have asked me if I’m afraid no one will read it, that no one will care. That is a huge cloud looming over this project, but I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter how many people read it. If only one or two of those 400 copies get into the hands of people who do care, people who will do one more thing that they’ve been doing to make a difference, I’ll have reached my goal.
Anxious to hear from you. Let me know what you think!