Crumbling skyscrapers and exploding airplanes are a difficult image to ever expunge from the American mind; the attacks on September 11, 2011 will remain engrained within citizens worldwide as a horrific manifestation of extremism and terror.
However ten years later it is clear that the damage of September 11th has been perhaps more debilitating on our psyches and attitudes as human beings, than it was on our physical infrastructure. We can reconstruct towers with enough steel and concrete, but it has appeared far more challenging and complex to rebuild ourselves and our sense of security.
Thankfully there are many committed individuals and organizations already hard at work on this restorative process – from grief counselors and support groups for those who lost loved ones, to health advocates demanding justice for those who sacrificed their wellbeing to save others, to everyday parents and teachers fostering attitudes of acceptance and peace in the home and at school, to ensure this is an event relegated to history, to never happen again.
In the healing spirit of today, I would like to announce to you my own contribution – a project I have had in the works for well over one year now, and finally feel ready to unveil.
I am writing my first novel, and it is called “Everyday Ambassador”.
“Everyday Ambassador” is a work of creative non-fiction that so far explores a few key concepts:
- the awakening and development of a young woman trying to serve others in a globalized, technologized world.
- the rarely-discussed consequences of a generation addicted to the Internet, and on how challenging – but truly worthwhile – it is to step away from the screen and into real life
- the idea of expanding our comfort zones, and all of the trying, funny, and heartwarming moments that come with such a personal exercise.
I have finished a (very rough) first draft and have galvanized a small team of advisors in an intital editing process, however in true ‘everyday ambassador spirit’ I am eager to hear your thoughts and feedback as I continue to refine my message and tell the underlying store. You have taken these journeys with me already, and your feedback and reflections on my posts have already been key to my writing process.
With the hope that your support will continue, I am taking a few next steps that I invite you to take with me:
- I am posting the (very rough) draft introduction to my book on a new page to this website. I will continue to transform and modify the draft in my writing process, so please consider the Comments section (or an e-mail/FB message to me) our space to interact on this “preview” piece.
- I am speaking publicly about the forthcoming book to begin formulating an action-oriented curriculum that will accompany the novel, and thank Sarah Collins for arranging the first opportunity to do so, at the upcoming United World Colleges Conference in October. Please let me know if you are part of or connected to any group of students, professionals, friends or community members who would be interested in doing a workshop together!
- I will be setting up social media components later in the fall to accompany the book, and am seeking the help of enthusiastic volunteers (5 hrs/wk) to join my team. If you can join or have a suggestion, please connect with me on e-mail ASAP!
I have written this book for a number of reasons, and the first and primary was purely an exercise in self -reflection. But today’s remembrance of 9/11 reminds me of another reason, put quite eloquently by Andrew Sullivan in this week’s Newsweek:
“The political model Al Qaeda celebrates—of stultifying premodern, brain-dead oppression—has no serious global appeal…Bin Laden and his henchmen failed, in other words. But our own fear won. Fear stopped us, overwhelmed us, as our rationality deserted us. Yes, it was understandable, given what we endured that September morning. But we need to admit that our response was close to fatal. A bankrupted America that tortured innocents and disregarded its own Constitution is barely recognizable as America.”
Sullivan ends his article suggesting that, “Fear is a tougher enemy than mere mistakes. It can only be overcome by hope. And hope is a choice, not a fate.”
Fear has indeed overcome our world and conditioned us to treat each other with suspicion and even agression. Choosing hope means rejecting this doctrine, considering that our fears are oftentimes unfounded, and understanding that there are far more people out there who want the same peace and security that we want.
“Everyday Ambassador” explores this choice, and suggests that our every effort to better understand ourselves and our neighbors – both down the street and across a continent – will further extinguish extremism from the world.
Thanks for you support, and please spread the word by sharing this link: http://everydayambassador.org/the-book/