Literary Scene: Book details effective strategy for life
Author Eileen Flanagan will read from and signs copies of her book, "Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope," 2 p.m. June 20, Barnes & Noble, Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, 2845 Center Valley Parkway, Center Valley.
"Renewable" has been described as an inspiring book about the challenging quest for change within society and ourselves and how people, as small and insignificant as they may think they are, really can make a difference.
Flanagan joined the Peace Corps in 1984. She said the more traditional route of high heels and nice suits "bored her." She didn't realize it then, but her decision would become part of the bigger picture for her.
She had spent some time in Bobonong, Botswana, Africa, where she taught junior high school English for 2 and one-half years. "There is a certain amount of it that is relative," Flanagan says of the experience with respect to her life path.
Flanagan came from a working-class family. She said she felt poor in a community where her peers were more well -off than she was. Living in Africa proved to her that one doesn't need half of what one has in material possessions and that "stuff doesn't make us happy.
"I try to teach my children to appreciate what we have instead of always seeking the latest, new thing," she says.
Flanagan says she had a mid-life spiritual crisis and decided to join the Earth Quaker Action Team, of which she's now chairman. She was drawn to the group because, she says, it is "interested in being strategic, not just signing petitions and protesting.
"They wanted to learn what works in challenging a big institution to change, along with their spirituality and ability to take on the challenge.
"It is all about finding meaning in your work instead of making as much money as possible," she says
Flanagan's book, as humorous as it is serious, discusses how some environmentalists just try to make people feel guilty, which is not effective.
Those who've endorsed Flanagan's book include the former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, and bestselling author Bill McKibben. When asked why Robinson backed her book, Flanagan, who is of Irish heritage, says, "Ireland is very conscious of climate change due to the potato famine that lasted six years beginning in 1845. It is creating famine around the world and the Irish are very involved because of what they went through many years ago."