Monday, January 8, 2007
In the World, Not of the World
This is the theme for the literacy presentations that I, along with several fellow authors, give across the state. Just last week, we spoke to a group of 60-70 women and their daughters about how we can increase literacy within our homes and communities. We each gave away copies of our books. We do not charge for this presentation, and we "write-off" our traveling costs. A couple of the authors who came traveled more than two hours by car. So the question is: Why would authors take time from their work and families to give free presentations and give away books? It's a belief, a mission, a desire to instill the excitement for reading again. Following the most recent presentation, we were bombarded with questions for 45 minutes--all the way from how to encourage a writer in the family to what the book submission process is. There was a young pre-teen who told me she had an idea for a book, and another woman who said her father had written a book that had been rejected several times. Sometimes people don't know there is a whole writing community out there who can help and answer questions. Literacy is an interesting beast. Literacy, or the lack of, is handed down from generation to generation. If you find yourself in a situation where your parents or siblings haven't graduated high school, please know that there are many programs and teachers who are willing to help you. Contact your local library for free literacy programs and tutors. Illiteracy leads to increased risk of depression, welfare dependency, crime, and greater health problems. Learning should never stop, and by picking up a book you can change your future.