Songs & Stories of East Lawrence
See More Than Just a Neighborhood, our book, the Wild East Lawrence walk, and in the near future, a podcast and video of our book launch concert and “My Heart, My Home, My Heart,” our song, all happening here.
Songs & Stories of East Lawrence celebrates the vibrant mosaic of this neighborhood’s diverse communities, histories, flora and fauna, and stories. Funded by a grant from Rebuilding East Ninth Street, our project encompasses writing and singing workshops, plus a Wild East Lawrence walk, collaborative song-writing, publication of an anthology of our stories, and a book launch concert.
The Project: This project was designed as a two-day workshop, leading up to an anthology of our stories and poems about East Lawrence. Because of the pandemic, we held one all-day workshop, then communicated with our 21 participants through a private website for them to continue their work. We’re on track to release our book in time for the June 14th book release conference.
Benefits: “Songs & Stories of East Lawrence” draws on creating and holding brave spaces for people to sing together, write their truths, and listen to one another, all geared toward greater unity without diminishing any individual voices. Writing and singing together can help people better hear themselves and witness each other’s most vital stories; such a process can begin to bridge polarized pockets of the community and to heal fractured community identities. Because humans and human settlements are part of ecosystems, our project also incorporates the watersheds of East Lawrence, which give us an ecological window into the land formations, waterways, and other environmental dimensions of this particular place. Participants can better contextualize their own turning points and experiences – in writing, discussions, and getting to know each other – through learning about this place’s ecosystem now and in the past.
While this project is led by Kelley Hunt and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, we are happy to include other members of our wonderful team.
Kim Murphree, our project assistant, is helped with community outreach and marketing. A mainstay in the local entertainment industry, Kim is a music producer and performer (including being lead singer in The Quake), voice talent for local radio, and an experienced event planner and emcee.
Ken Lassman, who is leading the Wild East Lawrence walk and assisting with book production and mapping our stories, is the author of Wild Douglas County and Seasons & Cycles of the Kansas Area Watershed, and the weekly Kaw Valley Almanac, a website focused on what’s happening in the natural world each week.
Wild East Lawrence Walk with Ken Lassman: Because of the pandemic, we are not meeting altogether for this walk, but Ken has created a map and podcast for you to take yourself on this walk, starting at either South Park (near the gazebo) or on the Burrough’s Creek Trail. You can listen to the podcast here, and you can access the map of the neighborhood here.
Songs & Stories of East Lawrence Book Release Concert: We will be celebrating our new book through a podcast to be recorded in mid-June. Participants will be reading their work, some will be sharing music, and Kelley Hunt will debut a song Caryn & Kelley wrote with words and themes suggested by participants. We’ll also be releasing a video of Kelley performing the song, “My Heart, My Home, My Heart.” Book contributors are: Jolene Andersen, Dan Bentley, Stephanie Barrows, Marianne L. Curtis, Joni Fornelli, Janet Good, Katherine Greene, Anne Haehl, Suzan Hampton, Nancy Hubble, Ken Lassman, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Dot Nary, Julanne Patrick, Judy Romero, Barry Shalinsky, and Diane Silver.
We are thrilled to have Tony Peterson’s poster featuring his photography and design as our cover, and thanks to Tony also for our book title.
The book as well as a poster of the cover art, will be available at the Raven Bookstore for shipping or deliver.
We are immensely grateful to all the businesses and organizations that are making this possible:
- Rebuilding East Ninth Street, and its funding partners: ArtPlace, Lawrence Arts Center, and the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association.
- Cider Gallery and Jennifer Burkhead for donating the meeting space for our workshops and book launch concert.
- The Merc Coop (Community Mercantile) for donating lunch and treats for our workshops.
- Tony Peterson for his cover art and doing all the graphic design for our cover, and proofreaders Katherine Greene, Ken Lassman, and Kelley Hunt.
- All our workshop participants, including the ones featured in this book.