I’m good at looking forward…not always so good at looking back, so I’ll offer up this year-end review for myself as much as others.
We installed 20 exhibits in 9 different states this year. The closest was 4 blocks from my home at Normandale Community College. The farthest was at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The exhibits ranged in length from one day to six weeks and most involved some sort of speaking or workshop engagement.
I stretched a bit this year and did two large road trips to finish gathering the stories for our next book, A Peace of My Mind: American Stories. I logged more than 11,000 miles as I drove through more than half of our states over 8 weeks, interviewing interesting people and seeing some amazing sights along the way. It’s actually hard to stop. I like the process of exploration and adventure that leads me to the people I interview. But at a certain point, it’s time to put a bow around the thing and share it with the world.
2015 presented new opportunities to partner with several organizations that are doing interesting work. There are too many to list here. But a few of the highlights included partnering with the Sojourners Summit for Change in Washington DC, connecting with the Charter for Compassion for some of our west coast stories, and starting to work with American Public Radio’s Public Insight Network to create a more dynamic conversation around the project.
This was the year to ask for help, and it came in the form of three amazing interns. Learning to let go of a little control taught me a lot about the synergy of working with a team.
Our original book sold out again and we ordered the third printing. Our future book hit a little snag you can read about in the previous blog post, but I am convinced that it will still be released this fall. I’m in the process of looking for a new publisher, but if all else fails, we will self-publish the next one just like we did with the first.
On the horizon:
Book one – A Peace of My Mind was made of stories from Minnesota.
Book two – A Peace of My Mind: American Stories will be stories from across the United States.
Book three – It only makes sense, right? There should be an international version? There are lots of details and logistics to figure out for an international version of the project…but the conversations have begun.
The world needs this conversation now more than ever. It’s a bold premise to believe that a simple series of photos and stories can make a difference in all the challenges we face, but it’s the small voice that I can add and rooted in my belief that if we all raise our voices, we can become a mighty chorus for change. Can you hear it?
A few parting thoughts for the new year:
“We are not long together on this earth, and there is not much time to gladden the hearts of those who make the journey with us. So…be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.” – based on the words of Henri Frederic Amiel
“Either look for ways it can work, or cling to your reasons why it won’t.” – me
“Do or do not. There is no ‘try.’” – Yoda