I’m fresh off a live broadcast with the girls of KUSH AM this morning to promote our new book, “2020 Visions”! This is how it works with book writing. You spend two years of your life writing the book. Then you spend two months of your life promoting it. Rinse. Repeat. I’ve been away from here for a short period of time but you’ll forgive me as I was busy getting this book finalized and in publishable form. Let me tell you, this book is beautiful. As a writer, I always, ALWAYS, feel insecure when I release a book. It never gets any easier, as I’d hoped. I felt the same about this one. Then when the proof came in the mail and I held it in my hands the emotion of it all hit me. I opened it and read through and realized this may be the best book I’ve ever written. This may be my greatest work. I can’t wait for you to get it in your hands.
It is still very early, but we have spectacular reviews rolling in. We want to share a few with you here, just in case you’re still on the fence about ordering your own copy. I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you and the world that proceeds from these books place Chromebooks directly in the hands of every Stilwell High School student. #ChromeDreams coming true! Spread the word!
“I sat down to read – Well, I could NOT put it down! Just finished. Loved reading what the students wrote, loved your commentary, loved the way you put it together! Thanks, Faith for a great read!” ~Wanda E.
“To say I’m impressed is an understatement. I marked some of my favorite quotes throughout the book. I love the way the relationship between you and your kids developed and fostered a genuine love and respect for one another! Thank you for investing in the lives of our children!! They are our greatest resource.” ~Ramona K.
I’m in love with what the Award-winning poet, Bill McCloud, had to say about his 2020 Visions experience: “The students write honestly about their feelings as they chronicle times of heartbreak, relationships with friends and family, and their expectations from life. Much of their writing concerns attempts to deal with self-acceptance, and I’m also amazed at how much tragedy so many of these young people have already experienced in their short time on earth.” ~Bill McCloud, author of The Smell of the Light: Vietnam, 1968-1969 and What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam?
Read McCloud’s entire review here:
“Acclaimed Oklahoma writer, Faith Phillips (Now I Lay Me Down, Ezekiel’s Wheels, It’s Not That Hard To…), has just published her hotly-anticipated new non-fiction book, 2020 Visions. Written over the past year with her senior class students at Stilwell High School in rural Adair County, Oklahoma, it tells an amazing story.
Faith finds herself agreeing to teach literature at the high-school she had graduated from just a little over twenty years earlier. The school’s student population is 80% indigenous, primarily Cherokee. The town of Stilwell is known as “The Strawberry Capital of the World,” but is also known in Oklahoma to be found in the poorest area of the state.
The book is anchored by her journal entries that she made on a regular basis, most of them going up at the time on her personal Facebook page. That gives us the benefit of knowing what she’s thinking on a day by day basis instead of a situation where she’s just looking back at the end of the school year. But the heart and soul of the book comes from the regular journal entries from her students that appear on nearly every page. She publishes their writings with their permission, though she keeps their individual identities concealed.
The students write honestly about their feelings as they chronicle times of heartbreak, relationships with friends and family, and their expectations from life. Much of their writing concerns attempts to deal with self-acceptance, and I’m also amazed at how much tragedy so many of these young people have already experienced in their short time on earth.
Noticing the lack of technology available to the students she starts a campaign to get a class-set of Chromebooks to be used by all the seniors. She sets up a GoFundMe page on the internet with the goal of receiving $6,700. She gives the fund-raising project to get laptops in the classroom the title CHROME DREAMS. The total is met within a few days.
Faith often tends to broaden her students’ awareness of literature as they respond to the work of Tupac and Tracy Chapman. She brings in notable songwriters such as Doc John Eddie Fell and Kalyn Fay Barnoski to perform for her students and to talk to them about their craft.
Then the students decide to enter an NPR Podcast contest. And there’s the building of a homecoming float, and the debut of the high-school women’s wrestling program.
And then the virus!
This is a heartwarming story, told in Faith-style. Yeah, I know Faith. I observed this story play out by reading her almost daily posts on Facebook. That’s why I knew when it happened that she was bit by a venomous copperhead snake less than a week before the school year was to start. She had even told me she wanted me to speak to her class about my poetry, but that didn’t happen because the school-year was cut short due to the Covid virus.
It’s an uplifting story of the affect Faith Phillips had on students, teachers, and staff at Stilwell High School and, more importantly, the affect each one of them had on her. Faith says what happened to her that fateful, inspiring year was, “Teaching. Teaching is what happened.”
Proceeds from the sale of this book go to help Stilwell High School reach the goal of a Chromebook for every single student! Purchase here …http://readbooksby.faith/
We have a few remarks from teachers here, too. I was a little nervous how they’d react but once again, nothing but praise!
“I am so enjoying the book. It brings back so many memories of when I first began teaching. I’ve laughed as I read and my heart will grow heavy when I would read some of the students writings. It reminds me of why I love teaching so much. The past 40 years have just passed by so quickly. But my memory is a sharp in remembering as if it was the first week of school all over again.” ~Frances
I’ll let you get back to your day now but we have much more exciting news on the horizon, including the transformation of three #okienoir books into screenplays. Imagine that, will ya? Okie Noir on the big screen. I can just see it, even now … #2020Visions
See you soon. We are still all in this together and the time is still NOW. Get down with it.
Purchase the books here: Signed copies available through http://readbooksby.faith/ or unsigned on Amazon for a dollar more:
Finally, if you’re just sick and tired of the internets and all you want to do is send a check directly to the school, you can do so: Stilwell Public Schools c/o Chrome Dreams 1801 W Locust Stilwell, OK 74960. Make sure you designate your donation to Chrome Dreams and include your shipping address. I will personally ship an autographed book.