January 6, 2012

Recommendations

I have to chop my Carson Animal Shelter story down if I want to sell it. It's at nearly 10,000 words, so I have some work to do. Polishing and selling it is taking longer than expected when I should have expected nothing less. That's life, at least on this end. I'll keep you posted, and thank you so much for your support.

Since I did it last year, I'll do it again and call it a tradition. I want to plug a few friends' projects. Arnal Kennedy, who spent more than two decades homeless on the streets of Skid Row, is quietly becoming an underground brand name in L.A. That doesn't mean he makes money. It just means he makes a lot of appearances to read his stuff. His book of poetry, You Woke Me In the Dark, is truly beautiful, plumbing the depths of the human soul as well as the love we are capable of. Arnal works as the dishwasher at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker soup kitchen.

Jeff Dietrich, who also works at the soup kitchen, has authored his second book, Broken and Shared. Jeff has lived in the LACW community for more than 40 years, and his writings reflect on his work in Skid Row as well as living among the poor. I'm not a religious person, but I enjoy Jeff's take on the Bible. Here's a quick excerpt:

Though we have been conditioned to think that the focus of the Gospels is the twelve male disciples, the truth is that women disciples hear and respond immediately to Jesus's message, while the male disciples consistently miss the point. The Gospels aren't anti-male. Rather, they are in opposition to the political, economic and religious structures of the world founded and administered by men.

Proceeds from Broken and Shared benefit the Los Angeles Catholic Worker and its soup kitchen that serves thousands of poor and homeless people every week.

Lastly, my former photo editor Dan Habib has made a documentary about his son with cerebral palsy, how it shaped his family as well as a look at the inclusive movement for the disabled. I learned a lot. Including Samuel is incredibly moving and informative, which is probably why it has won a couple awards. If autism and inclusion are issues you care about, or if you just want to watch a really good documentary, I highly recommend it.

Dan also happens to be gearing up for the release of his second documentary, Who Cares About Kelsey? The film looks at how kids with emotional and behavioral challenges can be included in regular education classes. There's a sneak preview and discussion with Dan on Monday in L.A. I'll be in attendance. 

23 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

Some great shoutouts, sounds like they are doing some wonderful things. Yeah editing and chopping stuff is a thing it always comes down too, oh well in the end when you sell it, it will be worth it.

Ruhi Shah said...

Editing is such a pain...takes more time than actually writing a piece.

Brian Miller said...

ugh best wishes on the (ed)itting...not fun...cool shout outs man...will check out the book....

Stephanie D said...

These sound wonderful! I'll have to check them out. Happy New Year! And good luck with the editing.

Claudia said...

great recommendations..will check out the links..and wishing you much wisdom for the editing process

Little Ms. Fun said...

I would actually be very interested in reading Broken & Shared. While I'm more spiritual than religious, I enjoy learning about other cultures. You don't need to believe everything, but it's important to understand.

Great shout outs! And good luck with all your editing! We can't wait for your story to come out :)

P.S. You had me cracking up with your owling comment. Who knew you were owling on the job?! haha

Mary said...

Ed, doggone about your project having to be edited to fewer words. Not easy, I know, especially when I am sure that your words were well chosen.

The people you mentioned are truly inspirational. Thank you. We need to know that there are such talented people out there who have touched others with their words and lives!

Janie Junebug said...

To whom do you hope to sell the story? I'm not very familiar with Writers' Market anymore, not that they're completely honest in what they "sell" -- the dream that everyone can be published by finding the right magazine or publishing house and writing the perfect cover letter.

Love,
Janie "Lola"

Janie Junebug said...

And I love documentaries so I'll be looking for "Including Samuel."

Love,
Janie

wendryn said...

If you want a wider audience for "Including Samuel", you might send the link to these guys - http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.com/ - it's a fascinating group of people, they just put out a book, and they might be very interested.

Good to see you writing! :)

EcoGrrl said...

i for one think editing is a beautiful thing - it forces you to get at the heart of what you wrote so that more people end up getting the inspiration from your words because it is more palatable. what's nice is you keep the original for your book if you want...just in my poetry i've gone back and edited a year later and seen where my new perspective has allowed me to make it more effective, more powerful. love the struggle, walk through the challenge rather than around it.

great recommendations too. a friend just sent me a book of poetry by her mother that was published and it's so great to read newly published works - like witnessing something being born...

EcoGrrl said...

ps - something for you to contemplate for 2012 - http://www.wordstockfestival.com/ - come on up and i'll buy ya a coffee. :)

darlin said...

I think that the fellas who lived on skid row and turned their lives around are amazing, that takes guts, courage, and humbleness to dig oneself out of a seemingly hopeless situation... hats off to them! If ever I have time to read for pleasure again (it seems at this point in time I NEVER will) I'd love to read the writings.

All the best in the spit and polish job on your writing. Please do keep us posted.

Have an amazing weekend Ed!

Tracy said...

Your shine so much light here, Ed, it makes me smile! I loved hearing about these fabulous spirits out there doing tremendous good. I especially love the title of Jeff Dietrich's, book, Broken and Shared...it just really resonates. Best wishes editing your piece. 10,000 words...*whistle*...Maybe we can think of editing as an act of simplifying rather than eliminating...hhhmmm... Happy Weekend :o)

Wine and Words said...

Sweet of you to plug them Ed. All worthwhile and worth time. I read the excerpts of the first book and went back again and again to ENDURE. I will take time to view the rest as well.

You've banked everything on this story. I am rooting for you that it is the springboard to amazing opportunities.

Yvonne Osborne said...

You know the most interesting people, people who are making a difference in the world. I need to change my line of work. As to editing....it can actually be exhilirating. But 10,000 words is not very many, or do you mean you have to cut 10,000???

I especially LOVE Jeff's take on the gospels. Written by men in a religious structure founded and administered by men, is it any wonder that the women of the gospels are mentioned as an afterthought when they're mentioned at all? And then only as mothers, wives and feet washers. Mary Magdelene was as much a disciple as the men who were consistently missing the point.

Thank you for the links. I will definitely be going there.

Birdie said...

thank you for bringing those wonderful people to sight Ed, i loved the samples of the poetry - so very raw ... broken and shared - just hearing that i got goosebumps it has touched something deep inside me ... as for Samuel story - i have the deepest respect and admiration for families who live with children with disabilities ... i have seen and have been around many of them closely and i will never forget their faces neither the faces of their parents, all the dreams, the pains, the hopes, and mostly the incredible LOVE ...
ps: still thinking about your last topic, the comments ... it has touched something deep in me as well ... thank you!

Magic Love Crow said...

Ed, I am sorry you have to chop so much out of your story! Good luck! Thanks so much for sharing all these wonderful people with us! Fantastic! Have a great day!

Daydreamertoo said...

I recently read a book which was fiction but contained a lot of scientific fact about autism. It stated that until pretty recently autistics were considered as having mental illness, whereas now they are learning so much more about it and are discovering that far from being mentally ill, many autistics are extremely gifted in at least one way, most, up to genius levels. I've always thought that their brains work on their own frequency and we just don't understand its wiring.
Great post Ed, you certainly know some interesting and, it seems, very talented people.

Ed Pilolla said...

want to get it down to 7 or 8 thousand, which means i should get it down to 7 but will stop at 8, most likely.

Lynn said...

Editing is the hard part, I find, but so satisfying. I know you will get your piece to the place that brings you peace. Such wonderful stories you have shared here. I am going to explore as many as time allows. My son has had autism friends, due to him being a 'special needs' kid. Inclusion has always been the goal. And he is doing well. The unfortunate thing is not all people are generous in spirit, instead taking advantage of what they see as 'weaker in knowledge' thus he has been taken advantage of. We keep working on teaching discernment with a hopeful heart believe that people are good!

oceangirl said...

Happy New Year Ed. Sorry I took a while :)

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