From Patti Dickinson:

Okay, I’ve been missing in action.  Posts weeks apart.

Wood and I are writing a book.  It is a celebration of twenty years of Project Uplift’s outreach to the community of the homeless in Kansas City.  It is something that we are both passionate about.  Wood is taking the photographs and I am sitting down with the homeless and writing the narrative that comes out of that time spent.  We have met some great people and shattered just about every stereotype we began this project with.  I originally thought I could write the narrative of the book and then condense some of it here on the blog.  It’s not working.  I can’t do that.  I don’t now how.  It’s a skill I don’t have.  There is no condensing.  I have immersed myself in this project, and all of it is important.  Excerpts wouldn’t do the people or the lifestyle justice.

This is a steep learning curve for me.  Four Ordinary Women is only one-fourth mine.  This is all of me on the page.  The time I am spending with these new friends of mine has some days emotionally wrecked me.  I have cried.  I have altered my perceptions.  I know how blessed I am.  Oh, I always knew I was blessed, but now I experience that feeling in a very different way.  I know how sometimes shallow my life is.  I have had to face myself in this writing.  Challenge a lot of my beliefs.  About justice, about the disparity we have in this country between the haves and the have nots. And sometimes that is difficult.  Okay, mostof the time that is difficult.

I now know that handing a homeless person a stryrofoam plate of food and a pair of socks is very different than sitting down in their camp and hearing about how their lives led to life on the street.  To see where they sleep, cook, eat, where their teeth chatter from the cruelty of winter, and where they live when the mosquitoes, thousands of them, hunt for their food. I am in their shoes.

These men, these women trust me.  Trust me to tell their story with dignity and honesty.  I am trying very hard to live up to that and making sure that this story is their legacy.  For many of them, it will be their only legacy.

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