Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Writing Saves Lives -- The First Board Meeting

​"To be a person is to have a story to tell." 
-- Isak Dinesen

Last night, the newly organized board of directors of Writing Saves Lives, Inc. gathered for its first meeting. To say that I had been looking forward to this night would be an understatement. I had been thinking about it for weeks and finally the day arrived when the idea that had come to me a few months ago would finally be set into motion. I’m not ashamed of my nerdiness so I’ll admit it – I was giddy.

I really wanted the meeting to go well so I planned things out carefully in my head. I wanted the wonderful people I had asked to join the board to feel comfortable with each other and be excited about what we had all come together to do. I had very high expectations for this meeting. Very high. And amazingly, somehow, what happened in those two hours was even better than I had expected.

Last night, in a conference room in Boston, six people sat together around a table and talked about writing and about all the good that it can do. We talked about how so many of us have gotten away from long-form writing. We write Facebook posts, Tweets, texts, and emails. We write for work, not for pleasure. We don’t even write full words anymore but rather we have developed a whole language of short-form abbreviations. We write, but not really.

(BTW...quick short-form story...A few years ago, a Ropes & Gray associate (who I didn't know) mistakenly hit “Reply All” to an email from one of his friends. The friend had written a mass email informing everyone that he was leaving the firm. In reference to the fact that the associate was staying at the firm, the associate wrote, “FML.” I won’t lie – mistaken Reply All emails kind of fascinate me and once I figured out what "FML" meant, I laughed. Hard. Then I felt bad. Poor guy.)

Anyways, last night's meeting was awesome. These board members are awesome; just the kind of people you'd want to work with, never mind, hang out with. And our mission is something I believe in with all my heart. To encourage writing and promote literacy. That's what Writing Saves Lives is going to do. How will it do that? We're not quite sure just yet. But we have lots of ideas and lots of energy and we can't wait to spread our love of writing to others who may benefit from it. 

At 9pm, after the meeting, I ran back to my office and passed Mark who was back at his desk. Mark kindly agreed to be a mentor to the board and I couldn't imagine a better person to play that role. As I rushed by and thanked him, he smiled and shook his head as if he were impressed by the meeting we had just wrapped up. You guys are building something, he said. And it's going to be great. Really great. I definitely think so. But boy, did it feel good to hear that someone else thinks so, too. 

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Writing Saves Lives, Inc. is a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation that I conceived of once I realized what writing had done for me on my cancer journey. The organization's website can be found HERE.

As one of Writing Saves Lives' first efforts, I will be leading a writing workshop that begins one week from tonight. We have a few more open spots so for anyone in the Boston area who may be interested in attending, please click HERE. The workshop will be held at the Canton Public Library.

This was Annabel taking notes on the copy of my speech from last week's Relay for Life. My favorite part of the photo is that, like always, she has her sneakers on the wrong feet.

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