Update from Jamie.
- Posted on: 25 October 2006
- By: Jamie Tworkowski
I'm in Michigan, heading back to Florida in a few hours. It's late and there's so many great things happening. I don't know where to begin… The world is feeling small, and that's a great feeling. It means that much is possible.
"Stop the Bleeding"
We had a great night at "Stop the Bleeding" in Peoria, IL last Saturday. Folks came from all over Illinois, and as far away as Missourri and Wisconsin. There were two great bands, paintings and poets, and several speakers, myself included. We had an extended Q&A time, which included two counselors. Thanks so much to Chris Schaffner and all the artists, counselors and volunteers who made it happen. See you in July.
I believe in the "Stop the Bleeding" format so much. This is our attempt to meet people where they are, to create a night that is entertaining, informative, hopeful and inviting. We've just added a few Southeast dates and we're committed to more.
New "Stop the Bleeding" dates:
Nov 15: Nashville, TN
with Sleeping at Last, Bernard, Between the Trees
Nov. 18: Jacksonville, FL
with Sleeping at Last, Bernard and others.
@ Murray Hill Theatre
Nov. 19: Orlando, FL
with Sleeping at Last, Bernard, Monochromatic
@ Back Booth
Nov. 20: West Palm Beach, FL
with Bernard, Wilderness of Tekoa, A Denver Mile
@ Ray's Downtown Blues
Stopped in Chicago on the way back from Peoria. I was getting sick and it was freezing (literally) but I couldn't pass on Chicago. It's such a great city. Bought a jacket and took a walk down Michigan Avenue. I like Chicago.
I had such a great day with the crew at Mars Hill in Grand Rapids yesterday. I am so thankful for their support, for the work they're doing, and for the friends I've found in Steve Carter and Joe Hays at Mars. I hung with those guys all morning, and was surprised by an invite to their staff meeting after lunch. Mars Hill is truly a different kind of church. It is inspiring to me (and many).
Last night, I was honored to be the guest at Mars Hill's "The Element Live", which is set up just like a late-night talk show. It was so much fun. The Mines, a great band from Grand Rapids, performed and then I answered questions from Steve Carter and the students. We talked about TWLOHA and loving broken people. It was Parents Night, so it was really cool to get some questions from moms and dads as well.
I met a girl whose dad drove her two hours from Ohio to be there. She told me that yesterday marked 91 days without cutting. Her dad had tears in his eyes as he told me what TWLOHA has meant to his daughter, and what that means to him. It was a moment I will not forget.
At the end of the night, we called Switchfoot's Jon Foreman from the stage, expecting to get his voice mail and leave a funny message… Instead, Jon answered, I put him on speaker phone, and we all enjoyed Jon's thoughts on Iowa, honest music and broken people. Jon is much too smart.
We're waiting on video from both Mars Hill and STB Peoria, so we'll be making those available as podcasts asap.
I'm honored and excited to say that I'll be joining my friend Stephen Christian (Anberlin) on a trip to Calcutta, India in January. Stephen has organized a group of 32 musicians, writers, photographers, students and friends and we will be working with two organizations ("Ten" and "Made by Survivors") that are answering the sex slavery and human trafficking crisis in India. Our goal is to experience the pains of slavery in hopes of using our voices to educate our world about it. We hope to be changed, and to be a part of making change happen. We're hoping also to partner with International Justice Mission, as IJM's Gary Haugen will be in India in January as well.
While in India, I'll be working with the organization "Made by Survivors" to design a product which will be sold in TWLOHA's online store. This product will be made by the rescued slaves that we will meet. All of the profits made will go back to the community that made it. The idea is simple: they make something for us. We sell it. Then two things happen (1) the community gets money and (2) the product sparks conversation.
Two talented friends of mine, Kory Westerhold and Anthony Conforti, are working on new t-shirt designs for us. Kory lives in NYC – he's the guy who brought our "Title" logo to life. Anthony is one of my best friends, splits his time between Los Angeles, CA and New Smyrna Beach, FL.
We're also working on a new zip hoodie, a beanie and hopefully a hat. Also, finally, we are going to make stickers! Thanks to all of you who have mentioned this. You're right – they're long overdue. Stickers coming very soon.
We will be adding some books to the online store. Beyond simply suggesting books in our "Find Help" section, we're going to make some of these titles available. And beyond those books specific to cutting, depression, suicide and addiction, we're also going to offer some other books that speak to the broader themes, such as love, pain, hope, community, honesty, etc. Renee is hoping we'll be able to offer the book "Stumbling Towards Faith" by Renee Altson, and I'm excited to say that we'll be offering Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Blue Like Jazz changed a lot of things for me. It taught me so much about honesty and love and community, and it made me want to write.
First off, yesterday marked eight months sober! As many of you know, Renee is a great communicator. She is an incredible writer and she is also a very gifter speaker. Her story is where all of this started, and it's been on my heart more and more lately to create ways for Renee to use her gifts and tell her story. I've been encouraging her to write, believing that her words can and should be a book, an important book.
Beyond that, I've had a lot of opportunities to speak lately, and I want to begin opening those doors for Renee. For any event or group looking to discuss topics such as addiction, depression, cutting, pain, suicide, or recovery, I can imagine no one better to speak from experience than my friend Renee. If you are interested in booking Renee to speak, please write to bookingATtwlohaDOTcom
[b]Non-Profit / Donations:[/b]
I should have mentioned this sooner… I'm proud to say we have non-profit status and are now accepting donations. We will soon be making it easy to donate online via www.twloha.com For now, you are welcome to send tax-free donations to:
P.O. Box 33268
Indialantic, FL 32903-0268
Your donations go directly to supporting the growing work of To Write Love on Her Arms. We have a lot going on, more and more messages and emails and questions everyday. The need is great, and there's so much we want to do in answering it. We hope to hire more staff, including a full-time counselor. We believe in "Stop the Bleeding" and want to bring it everywhere. We would like to have a presence on the Warped Tour this summer. Those are just a couple examples. Your donations also go to directly meeting the needs of young people who want and need treatment but cannot afford it.
On that note, in my last update, I mentioned a 12 year-old girl in great need in Illinois, a girl we were committed to helping. At age three, she was sexually abused by a family member. When she was five, she attempted suicide for the first time. The abuse continued until she was nine. She has battled deep depression, cutting and thoughts of suicide. Renee and I have been talking to her mom for the last several weeks and I had the chance to meet her at "Stop the Bleeding" in Peoria. She even joined me on stage to help read Renee's story.
Anyway, we remain committed to this family on every level. Tonight, they were on the guest list for Switchfoot's show at Metro in Chicago. After the show, they spent a few minutes with the band. I got two phone calls a little while ago. The second was from my new friend, calling to say thanks. I could hear the happiness in her voice, something I hadn't often heard since meeting her. The call before that was from Jon Foreman. "I just met your friend", he said with excitement. "It was great."
Maybe it's just one girl, just a simple moment made possible by a simple "After Show" sticker. But maybe it's more. Maybe it's the possibility that we're all in this together, that we're not that different, heroes and friends, the privileged reaching out to the painful. It is these sorts of possibilities, these collisions, that make me feel alive. It's what I hope to be a part of in India, an unlikely bunch lending their voices to the voiceless. The last will be first.
It is possible to change the world.
You are Loved.
PS: Flyer Cards:
TWLOHA flyer cards are available now at all of Anberlin's Fall shows (at the merch table). New cards will also be going out to the Copeland and Switchfoot tours in the next week, different photos for each tour. Thank you so much to these great bands for their continued support. (Copeland's "Eat, Sleep, Repeat" comes out on 10/31!)
PSS: I met Rob Bell yesterday. (I haven't been that nervous in a long time.) He told me that he thinks TWLOHA is fantastic. "Such a great title", he said. Needless to say, that made my day.