Up Close And Personal, Part 2

Maybe because I myself was asking for money this week, I noticed a lot of other folks were, too. All good causes. I try, generally, to help causes I have a connection to; as I tell the leukemia society when they call, there are many great and worthy organizations out there, but I can't give to all of them. I try to carefully allot our limited funds where they may make the greatest, or at least most personal, impact.

(The fraternal order of police is an exception. No personal connection there, but I give to them. It's hard not to hand over money when a cop asks you.)

The sister of a female boxer I met at Gleason's was gunned down and killed last week. They need money for the funeral; you can donate here.

BuildABridge International, who hires me in the summers to teach at their arts institute in Philly, is holding a fundraiser. I know exactly where the money will go; I've seen and experienced firsthand how any money given to BAB is truly paying it forward--here, in Haiti, and in many other tough places around the world.

Over the past couple of weeks, I, too, asked friends and family to support a cause. I participated in a fundraiser for 826michigan, a nonprofit that provides free tutoring and writing workshops to kids in the Ann Arbor area. My part was writing for three days last week, which I did. By the end of Friday you could find me exhausted, but with a book in hand. And a finished proposal. And--this is news to some of you--an industry contact. It was a good handful of days.

More important to me, however, was that personal contact. Here I've been working on a book alone in my house for five years and now that word has spread, particularly to those who knew the people involved in this true story, I see that the community is much wider than the circle around my laptop. People who knew Marilyn before she died, people who know Kevin and Kelly, are related to them, were writing to me to support the making of this book. And even though the money was going to 826, the encouragement was all mine. I felt very honored and privileged.

The process begins a new phase now as I look for a publisher; I have no qualms, as I'm confident it's a great book. I cry every time I pick it up. I have met some of the people in the story, so there is a personal connection for me, but the book moves even those who don't know the Jansmas. Through the story, the reader can be drawn into community, just as I was writing it.

Speaking of connections, I recently joined Facebook. Look for Amy Scheer of Grand Rapids.


  1. ah man, i'm bummed i missed out on all this while it was happening, but i am stoked for you in your successful fundraising and writing. ROCK THE EFF ON.

    so glad things are coming together for you on these projects.

  2. Thanks, Shannon! The writing went well and I finished the book. It's now at a couple of publishers. Fingers crossed!


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