Welcome to Larry Andrews' website.

Greetings and welcome to my blog spot.

I've written two novels since my retirement in 2008. The first is a romance, Songs of Sadness, Songs of Love. The second is an action/mysteryThe China-Africa Parallax: A Ryan and Gillian Mystery.

Among the textbooks I have written areLinguistics for L2 Teachers, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2001; and Language Exploration and Awareness: A Resource Book for Teachers, 3rd edition, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2006. This textbook was translated into Korean by Pagijong Press, Seoul, South Korea. 2010.

I am presently writing my third Ryan and Gillian novel, The Nathan Culper Brotherhood. You can follow my progress on novel #3 here at this blog site.

To order any of my titles please go either to nook.com or amazon.com (Kindle users can go to the Kindle Store.).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Story of Self

Here is a remarkable piece by Marshall Ganz. Both readers ad writers can learn from it.

               A Story of Self, A Story of Us

By Marshall Ganz, Professor
Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Public narrative is central to movement building, organizing and advocacy. It’s an articulation of the challenge, of the sources of hope, and of a pathway to action required to realize that hope; a response to those three questions posed by first century Jerusalem scholar, Rabbi Hillel:

1.  If I am not of myself, who will be for me?
2. If I am for myself alone, what am I?
3. If not now, when?

 A story of self, a story of us, and a story of now.

The core of a story is a plot, a moment of choice in which a protagonist is confronted by a challenge for which he or she is not prepared, but which he or she must nevertheless face, the outcome of which we take away as the “moral.” Why do we pay attention? Because it is in plot moments that we most fully experience the gift of agency as human beings – moments of real anxiety, to be sure, but also of exhilaration — when our choices matter most, but we are least prepared to make them. And because we identify empathetically with the protagonist, we not only “understand” the dilemma with our heads, but we experience a in our hearts. This is why our families, faith traditions, cultural traditions, organizations, movements and communities all teach through story.

Narrative is how we learn to make choices, how we learn to access the moral resources (hope, empathy, self worth) to respond mindfully and courageously to urgent challenges. As St. Augustine observed, it is one thing to “know” the good, but another to “love” it – and loving it calls forth action. Because values are emotional in content, they are sources not only of information about what we “ought” to do, but also of the motivation to do it. I say values, not interests, because while self-interest is sufficient to sustain the status quo, our values are sources of the courage to take the risks, make the commitments, and reach out to others that challenging the status quo requires.

By learning to tell a story of my calling — not my “career,” but my “calling” — I can communicate my values to others. By attending to the stories of others, and those we share with them, I can communicate values we share — a story of us. And by telling stories of the challenge to those values, the hope we can respond, and a path to action, we can inspire others to join us in action. Hope, however, is not the same as optimism. As Maimonides said, hope is belief in the plausibility of the possible, as opposed to the necessity of the probable. A realist recognizes that early in 2007 it was highly improbable a black man could be elected president, but it happened.

Marshall Ganz is a senior lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. As an organizer and strategist, he worked with the United Farm Workers for sixteen years, and played a pivotal role organizing students and volunteers for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign.

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