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A Call to Action

Sunday, October 18, 2009
There has been a lot of recent controversy over whether Obama deserved his Nobel Peace Prize. Some felt that it was too soon; he hasn't done anything yet. Others saw it as a call to action. I, too, was shocked by the announcement. But, not because of what Obama has or hasn't done. I was shocked that, once again, I was passed over. Every year I wait for the announcement: I've won the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer, the $25 in free Trader Joe's food... And, every year it's a huge disappointment.

True, I have only written five sentences of my Pulitzer prize winning novel. And, OK, I don't even fill out the Trader Joe's tickets. But, if getting two arguing people together to drink beer in your backyard is the kind of peacekeeping that gets you a Nobel prize... I could legitimately be in the running. Next, Obama, I would send a fruit basket to Iran. But, not just any fruit basket, one of those cute ones with the fruit dipped in chocolate and arranged like flowers. OMG, Ahmadinejad is going to L-O-V-E it.

Anyhoo. Speaking of world peace... Friday night I went to hear Nicholas Kristof speak on his new book (written with wife Sherly WuDunn) Half the Sky. Six hundred Portlanders filled the Bagdad Theater for the talk. Kristof, who's from Portland, is a compelling speaker. He's very knowledgeable and obviously passionate about the topic of women's empowerment. (He could probably have a proficient conversation with a Mercy Corps donor.) I was moved by his stories and his call to action.

He didn't just tell depressing stories. He didn't just tell stories of overcoming odds. He talked about the reality of the world we live in. He talked about the little things we can do to make real change. He told of how one goat transformed an illiterate little girl into a college graduate.

OK, you know what? This is why I will never win an award. I'm already tired of writing this post. I don't have skills of persuasion. But, I might very well have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. I drifted off thinking about how the girl/goat story would make an excellent children's book. Then I was winning the National Book Award for Janati and the Goat. And, what do you know, I'm on The Daily Show again... "It's always fascinating to have you on the program, Kristy," Jon gushes. "Thank you, Jon; I always try to squeeze you into my busy speaking schedule," I'd say as I nervously readjusted the strap of my new $250 shoes made by a young girl in Bangladesh for 50 cents.

So, yeah. Read the book. Be inspired. Do something meaningful.

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