About My Forthcoming Book
If I knew what was really involved in writing and publishing a book from the start, I might have shit-canned the idea and stuck to taking pictures, authoring the occasional article and tending my real and metaphorical garden in Oracle, AZ. But the book thing got under my skin and metastasized to the point that the only way to deal with it was to write and publish. Now I'm glad I did. I think it turned out pretty good. For those of you who read it, I hope you think so too.
Early on, my friend and former colleague, Perry Perkins, suggested I read Mary Karr's "The Art of Memoir". She teaches the subject at Syracuse and has written several books in the memoir genre herself. Mary, like Perry, is a good writer, has a great memory and tells great stories - nothing but the truth of course. Like Perry, she makes a good living doing what she loves (and may be expelling some personal demons in the process while helping others do the same). But the best thing for me about reading Karr was my dawning convincement that I didn't want to go that route. I liked the part about connecting personal and professional interests, telling good stories and integrating family history, but the memoir genre wouldn't have worked for me or my editor/publisher. I could easily have spent a year or more running up and down literary rabbit trails, likely ending in frustration, senility or death before any ink was spilled...
Sometimes David Wins
No story better applies to our current situation than the David and Goliath drama as narrated in Hebrew Scripture. If Zelensky/Ukraine v. Putin/Russia isn't a classic in that regard, I don't know what is. The "Sometimes" in the title of my new book strips inevitability from the equation. The fact is David may very well not always win, which is why the subtitle, Organizing to Overcome "Fated Outcomes" hits the mark. So winning is conditional on David getting his shit together-- which he does in Scripture by taking off bulky armor and operating with tools of the shepherd trade, with which he is well practiced.
I think there's a hero in all of us waiting, like David, for the moment to burst out and go public. In part, that's what community organizing is all about. Doing something hard, against long odds, and suffering the slings and arrows in the process. I was raised, blessed and cursed, to "make a contribution". My parents never advocated a life focused on money-making for myself and my brother, John. They expected us to be gainfully employed but not consumed by avarice-- which to them seemed, while common enough, a slippery slope into worthlessness.