First off, this is a request for you to do something, not a request for you to read something.

That’s right. I want you to actually take some action – and, on whatever scale you can, help tell a new story.

We, the community of New London, CT, are trying to get an independent bookshop to open in downtown.

New London is a city on its way back from decades of hardship – it’s not always the easiest of journeys, but many of us are committed to building a community which thrives and grows together.

There is a burgeoning arts community, musicians aplenty, actors and even, I believe, the odd mime or two.

There are writers, of course; story-tellers, historians, poets, bloggers, journalists.

We have bars, we have restaurants. We have live music venues. We have coffee shops.

Yet we don’t have a bookshop.

Of course, out of town, there’s a big-box book mega-market – but that’s not what we’re talking about.

We’re talking about a bookshop. A small, independent, local bookshop.

Last night was the kick-off for a month’s fund-raising to help Chris and Gina bring New London’s local bookshop to life; out of hopeful dreaming and into vivacious reality. Over 100 members of our community gathered at Two Wives pizza to learn of our intent, and hear speakers – some of whom representing the city, some the local arts establishments and some, yes, writers.

Myself included.

I am passionate about seeing this bookshop open in New London.

Yet, I started my speech with a simple statement: “I couldn’t care less about a bookshop.”

Which got a laugh

[always start with a laugh]

I then went on to explain. It’s not the shop, the bricks and mortar, or the product it sells that’s important to me. It’s the stories.

You’ve heard me on this before, and I’ll speak my truth until I no longer have breath to do so: we are all stories. Every day, we are inventing ourselves moment-by-moment – so that we know who we are, and so that others know who we are. As the big stories of global econo-politics, 20th century industrialized manufacturing, and dictatorships-gone-mad reveal their hollow, rancid cores, it’s my firm belief that we are returning to the local story, to the story we share with each other – whether face-to-face or via social networks.

It’s your story, my story, and the story we create between us that matters.

We are all stories, and we get to change that story if we have the courage to act.

Our downtown bookshop will be a place to bring, share, and change our stories.

This is what I spoke of last night

[and I’m hopeful to be able to get a video of my talk so that I can post it here]

the importance of our collective story, and stories, in this era of regeneration and rebirth for New London.

Chris and Gina aren’t building a bookshop, they are building community – and it’s really, really worth reading what they’re planning.

So we come to the actions I want you to take.

  1. If you do only ONE THING, visit the crowd-funding site and pledge the most that you’re comfortably able
  2. Share this post, the crowd-funding site and our intent with at least one other person. Then ask them to do the same. We – that’s right, YOU and ME – are building this bookshop
  3. If you want something in return for helping out, I’m donating $5 for every hard copy book I sell in June – so if you’ve been holding off reading one of my books, this might be just the right time to dive in.

So, that’s my request of you. Do something.

Please.

Every evening the media is chock-full of political manipulation and social apathy. Of enormous problems and insolvable riddles. And a media that thrives on perpetuating the confusion. The socio-media-political powers want us to remain docile in perpetuity.

Just for once, step out of observer mode and do something.

Help change this story.

Help make a bookshop that makes a community a little better.

Please.

In the meantime, and as always, thanks for reading – you have my love.