Authors Lauren Schiller and Hadley Dynak would like everyone to know “It’s a Good Day to Change the World.”
That is the title of a new book they will sign and share during two events in the Park City area in celebration of Women’s History Month.
The first will be a free event at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., and the other will be a social and book party that starts at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, at Kiln, 1090 Center Drive at Kimball Junction.
The event at Kiln, sponsored by Pando and Vine Lore Wine & Spirits, is hosted by ShePlace, a Utah-based network for women and allies who hail from diverse industries and backgrounds. Registration is open at sheplace.com/events, and the price of admission includes the cost of a book.
“It’s a Good Day to Change the World: Inspiration and Advice for a Feminist Future” is an “accessible and optimistic five-step guidebook for a feminist future,” said Schiller, the founder and host of “Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller,” an award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated public radio show.
A “feminist future” is not just focused on women, according to Dynak.
“It’s where everyone has a chance to thrive, because there is social, political and economic equality for all genders,” she said. “In this book, we are giving people a plan of action to, hopefully, feel less hopeless. I think this book offers something for those who are working for change now and for those who will be working for change.”
The book essentially comprises interviews Schiller has done with her podcast, which she started in 2015.
“I started the show, and over the years spoke with over 200 women entrepreneurs, activists, artists, academics, authors and visionaries about the work that they do with an eye on demonstrating what women are capable of achieving,” she said. “I named it ‘Inflection Point’ because it looked like things were really progressing for women in terms of how many we were seeing in leadership positions, the number of women’s conferences that were popping up at that time. And it seemed like we were at this point where we might see our first woman president.”
The podcast title also referred to the possibility of things going the other way, which they did a year later, Schiller said.
“When things took a turn in the 2016 election, we saw what we were up against as the pendulum began to swing the other way,” she said. “So, the conversations I was having with other women seemed (much more) essential.”
Some of Schiller’s guests included Ijeoma Oluo, author of the New York Times bestselling book, “So You Want to Talk About Race,” climate activist Isha Clarke and Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem.
Dynak, former executive director of the Arts Council of Park City and Summit County, and founder of Peak86, a creative consultant agency that collaborates with artists to inspire conversation and drive action, joined Schiller in 2019 as the podcast’s strategy, impact and partnerships director.
“Our goal in working together was to find ways to make what we were hearing in these interviews more actionable and more accessible,” Schiller said.
When the coronavirus hit a few months later, Schiller began pondering a question that came up during a recent family vacation.
“We were getting to know another couple on the trip, and when they asked what I did, I said I created and host a radio show about how women rise up, and they said, ‘So how do women rise up?’ Schiller said.
The question stopped Schiller in her tracks.
“I’ve been asking everyone who came on the show how they did it, so the answer wasn’t that simple,” she said. “So, when the pandemic hit, I paused the show, and it was time for me to sit back and answer that question.”
Schiller asked Dynak if she was interested in working together in compiling the answer to that question in the form of a book.
“I enthusiastically jumped up and down and clapped my hands and said yes,” said Dynak, whose expertise focused on connecting arts and culture to social-justice issues. “We thought we could create this beautiful and optimistic guidebook that was full of practical and inspirational ideas to address the despair and fear we were all facing.”
Before Schiller hit the pause button on the podcast, she and Dynak had launched a miniseries called “Tool Kits” that features short excerpts of the longer interviews.
“It felt essential (that the book) would collect what we heard and put it into something tangible, so you didn’t have to go back and comb through 200 interviews to find the answer,” Schiller said.
After numerous, COVID-19 protocol-adhering meetings on Schiller’s back porch, the two came up with a plan.
“Our goal was to have a diverse mix of people in terms of race, geography, experiences and areas where they were making changes in the issues they addressed,” Schiller said.
Age was also an important factor, she said.
“The youngest person in the book is Alex Sangster, who was 14 when I interviewed her,” Schiller said.
Sangster had worked with her grandmother, author and photographer Paola Gianturco, on the book “Wonder Girls: Changing Our World,” which is about how girls around the world are making change and dealing with issues in their own countries, according to Schiller.
On the other side of the age spectrum, Schiller interviewed Betty Reid Soskin, an author, jazz musician, and civil-rights activist, who will turn 102 in September.
“She was approaching 100 when I interviewed her, and she is the oldest park ranger in America,” Schiller said. “She helped found the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond, California, and her great-grandmother had been a slave.”
To tighten the focus of their book, Schiller and Dynak created a five-step outline that would help empower readers to focus on how they could pursue their own mission of change.
Those steps are:
Those five steps came from Schiller and Dynak wanting an arc to help readers move through a process of change.
“There are stories organized within each of those steps,” Schiller said. “Every story within includes a first-hand narrative, tools needed to make change and ways to essentially keep going.”
The final element of the book comes through the illustrations by Rosy Petri, the inaugural artist-in-residence of the bell hooks center at Berea College in Kentucky.
Dynak learned about Petri through a friend of a friend.
“My friend was working on a book, ‘Our Brave Foremothers,’ which is about women who have died, and I talked to her about illustrators,” she said. “She told me about Rosy.”
Petri, who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a self-taught artist who works mostly with textiles, and her art features a lot of iconic black women and men, Dynak said..
“Rosy had just started to do an oral history series of visual drawings of people who were voices of change and leaders in her community, and we sent a cold email asking if she wanted to have a conversation,” she said. “And she replied.”
Dynak and Schiller quickly found Petri was the right artist for their book.
“She captured the energy of each of the women,” Schiller said. “She also came back with a color palette that represents each of the steps in the book. So the accent color of each chapter will let you know where you are in those steps.”
Schiller and Dynak eyed publishing “It’s a Good Day to Change the World” in late February for Women’s History Month that runs through March 31. The publishing date also made the book available for Mother’s Day and graduation gifts, Dynak said.
“We are also looking for non-traditional and creative ways to get the book into hands of individuals, groups and organizations and their constituents,” she said.
If an organization or individual does have an interest for bulk orders, they can contact Schiller and Dynak by visiting eventcreate.com/e/itsagooddaybookstores.
Dynak is honored to have worked with Schiller on the book.
“Out of the work we did together, I think we were successful in creating something that feels promising and possible in what can be a difficult, bleak and dreary time,” she said. “Change, even personal change, is hard and exhausting work. And we need to take care of ourselves and each other as we do it. That’s the only way we’re going to have any kind of success or see more people thrive.”
Schiller is happy to finally see the book out in the world.
“We love the way the stories come through across the pages,” she said. “Our goal was to create an accessible and optimistic five-step guidebook for a feminist future. I think we accomplished that. We hope that will inspire people to make a difference that they would like to make.”
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