|Chai latte became indispensible tools.|
I have been researching my book, 100 Under $100: the Global Women's Toolkit, for nearly two years. This has included curating over 120 stunning photographs of developing world women hard at work, a project all by itself. The photo on the left is me, with my tool, a lovely laptop.
My book is unlike any I know of - most books that lay out solutions to alleviating global poverty are academic studies or popular books describing one locale or one solution in detail. I started out focusing on tools, which I understood to be technology, with a specific focus on women. Eventually I added public health tools, legal tools, & financial tools. Ultimately, I am covering 11 sectors. This makes the book extraordinarily broad, which is a strength. Those with a depth of knowledge of one area will learn about other sectors. Readers with no background can come away with a general overview. By making the book user-friendly, and adding action items, it moves from being distant to becoming an entry point for personal involvement.
The book grew out of my desire to link the humanitarian tech world, with all kinds of smart solutions for people in rural, off-grid villages, with the women's empowerment sector, which usually is fairly tech-averse. Women will not be empowered if they have no electrical power! I started pinning images of solutions on Pinterest. One day I took a step back, saw all the gorgeous images, and realized they would make a beautiful, informative book. And there was no turning back.
About six months ago things got nailed down with She Writes Press and suddenly I had a deadline: writing the book in six months. Yikes. Each entry is 500 words, requiring an extraordinary economy of language. No getting off on tangents or repeating myself. But it is good discipline. I begin each entry with a two sentence precis which forces me to make a central point and amplify it. This, it turns out, is much tighter than blogposts, where you can be really casual.
As I became more nimble, I realized that the best way to proceed, after the precis, was to write without reviewing my notes. I was amazed to see I could write several paragraphs from my memory bank. What I recalled about the topic was by definition the sticky stories. Some of my topics are pretty dreary; each entry is the story of a solution to really difficult challenges, so it is important to not get bogged down with numbing statistics.
It has worked. Many mugs of chai latte later, I am nearing the final entry. Feels great!
Next week, you will be hearing from Manda Aufochs Gillespie, The Green Mama, whose book is coming out - tada! - next week. In her 20 years in the field she has “greened” one of North America’s only urban ecovillages, one of Chicago’s largest daycares, a multi-million dollar residential project, a Guatemalan orphanage, and has been dubbed the “green guru” by the media, appearing on HBO, ABC, and CBC. She engages directly with hundreds of parents through classes, consulting, and through writing. She is the author of Green Mama: Giving your child a healthy start and a greener future, and publishes the popular www.thegreenmama.com.
I am also proud to introduce Susan Holck, MD, a newbie blogger hard at work on her memoirs. Check out Trauma Trumping and welcome Susan to the blogosphere.
Holck worked for thirty years in various senior management and policy jobs in international public health at the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva, Switzerland. Susan's work at WHO, which included the position of Director of Reproductive Health, enabled her to pursue her passion for improving women's health in concrete ways that also had a global reach.
Susan is currently based in Philadelphia and completing a memoir about her caring for her ex-husband when he was left severely disabled following a brain hemorrhage at age 38.
Susan's blog explores various types of trauma -- her son died at age 20 of an overdose and her daughter has struggled with severe bipolar disorder -- and the ways in which people's lives are transformed through living with trauma and loss, the herculean struggles and the moments of grace, and the universal experience of grief and the importance of finding self-compassion.
Also up next week is another survivor thriver, Liz Barker, author of Changed By Chance. Liz's forthcoming book also describes a series of personal catastrophes and how she got through them - The World of Special Needs Children, Breast Cancer, Holistic Health Care, Self Advocacy, Yoga, Spirituality and Fate, and most importantly, utilizing your inner strength to overcome adversity.
Welcome, Manda, Susan, and Liz!