The thing I miss most abut my time working with Grey Wolfe Publishing are the community service anthologies I was able to edit and publish. The idea that words have a way to serve people, organizations, and humanity as a whole, has been a concept that has driven me since I was a small child.
I remember UNICEF boxes at Halloween. Collecting coins for such a remarkable organization that used words to convince leaders that the world could be better for children... it was mesmerizing. Later, came RIF, and the small boxes I had sitting on a desk at home, collecting coins out of my allowance each week so that children in far away lands (and some in this country, too) could have some of the same fabulous story books I had... the idea that children just like me could be reading the same books I did, maybe even at the same time... Well, that idea had nothing on the incomprehensible thing of wishing on the same star. Stars were too far away to really have an impact, and how would we know if we were really wishing on the same one, they're all so small? But, if we could all be connected by the SAME BOOKS, the SAME STORIES - the SAME CHARACTERS - well - that would be magnificent!
In my nearly ten years editing community service anthologies, we created books to serve dogs and cats in no-kill shelters, schools, libraries, an elephant sanctuary, a wolf sanctuary, a big cat sanctuary, a senior center, veterans, and special needs children. Before we were able to finish them, we also designed books that would serve Doctors Without Borders, the Make A Wish Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity. Thankfully, I have retained the rights to publish those titles, and I'm in the process of reaching out to the contributing authors, to see if they will grant me permission to move forward with those books. From my perspective, the more good we can do using our words, the better off we'll all be.
So, in the meantime, while I work on those projects, I thought, why not publish another, new anthology? There are so many great charities out there that we can help... why should I stop doing this work that I love?
The simple answer is... I don't have to stop!
I have always believed that a more harmonious and supportive society begins with literacy. I have always believed that a successful life begins with, and is enhanced by, the written word. I also know that not everyone is able or inclined to pick up trash by the side of the road or donate financially or give blood in order to contribute to the well-being of their community. But I know that there must be an alternative... I believe that alternative is the Power of The Pen! I believe that every literate person is capable of telling a story to enhance the lives of others... and they don't have to be New York Times bestselling authors to do it!
So, because I believe in the power of the pen, and I believe that words, regardless of whether they're fiction or non-fiction, have the incredible ability to change lives, I'm putting together a new anthology. My esteemed editorial cohort, Connor Matthews, is going to help on this one, so I'm certain that the end result will be nothing short of spectacular! He's got a keen eye for extraordinary stories, and he excels at working with authors, and making them better.
The charity I've chosen is The World Literacy Foundation. They have a mission to serve individuals and communities with the written word. "We envision a world in which every one of us can read and write, in which there is free access to education for all." This is a vision I can certainly get behind with full enthusiasm.
The book? Well, this edition is called, Simple Things. I'm seeing it as an inspirational collection of poetry, short stories, and anecdotal essays on the topic of GRATITUDE. During the COVID-19 craziness, we've all had a lot of time to sit in isolation and consider those things that we are most grateful for, or those people who have made our suffering bearable, or those situations we endured that made us look at life with a different, more gentle perspective. Those stories of hope, of thoughtful caring, of gracious gratitude are what I'd like to fill the pages of this book with...fresh understandings about our lives and the Simple Things that really matter. I invite you to write something to share.
I imagine small nuggets of "wow" hidden in plain sight on the pages: in true stories of courage and bravery; in remembrances of those we love; in stories of those we've lost but with whom we shared special time; in the humor we find coping with this interesting year; and in the gentle make-believe we share with children, to ease their stress, worry, and fear. It is my hope that through our words, we can share a connection with others who may have missed a moment of grace in their lives, and through our writing, can look back to discover a few of their own.
Through this book, my hope is that when we look back in recollection of our time in quarantine and Pandemic, we see it with kinder eyes, lighter hearts, and gentler souls... and that we share those perspectives with people all over the world.
If you are a thoughtful human... whether child or adult... whether published or not... and you're interested in lending your words to this collection of Simple Things, please click the book's cover to learn more about how you can contribute... and perhaps inspire a nugget of gratitude in someone else.
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