-- World of Writing --*Today we have Brenda Knight joining us for an interview about her work in the world of writing and how she uses her skills to make a difference in the world. Thanks to Jennie Miller and Eileen Duhne of Cleispress.com and VivaEditions.com who made this interview possible. Brenda Knight is a publisher and editor who writes about women's history and issues affecting women's lives today. The author of numerous books (some of which are pictured below), Brenda also does volunteer work with women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. She lives the San Francisco Bay Area (California, USA).
Q: How would a good friend describe you?
A: Eileen, my publicist, is a dear friend, and she actually used this in a pitch for Be AGood in the World: she said I always give in ways big and small—mentioning the way I almost have someone surfing on my couch! She also noted than I am a devoted volunteer at Glide Memorial, as well as with women who have just been diagnosed with cancer… Thus, I feel pretty sure that a good friend a good friend would say that giving is part of every fiber of my being.
Q: What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives? How do you plan to accomplish your goals?
A: I have this great dream of founding a 401C3 where all the awareness and money we raise goes directly to help people. I’d love to run Be A Good-dot-org, a foundation publishing books on the subject, encouraging random acts of kindness, and coming up with ways to save the planet. All proceeds would go to people who need it. They, in turn, can help others. I am hoping that Be a Good will start that cycle of giving back: a portion of all proceeds made from the book are going to two different organizations, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency and Bachpan Bachao Andolan, also known as Save the Childhood Movement.
Q: How do you determine or evaluate success?
A: That’s completely personal, and differs so much from person to person. For some, making a delicious omelet that everyone loved is pretty successful. For me, success should be shared, it should be uplifting and inspirational to others. I got my start in publishing, and I could have gone for marketing or selling in Silicon Valley, but I didn’t want to sell widgets. For me, it must be meaningful. Success doesn’t have to do with money, but with how you feel. At the end of life, I feel absolutely certain that having money, fancy cars, and real estate aren’t nearly as important as how much love you put into the world.
A: I’d say what inspires me is completely out-of-the-box thinking. One of the things that really inspires me, that I wrote about in Be a Good, was the teenager Boyan Slat who designed great technologies to help combat the Pacific Garbage Patch. I want to high-five him! It’s crazy cool, because he saw a problem, and instead of complaining about it, he came up with a solution, and even founded the Ocean Cleanup Foundation to help develop his solutions. I think that’s incredibly inspiring.
Q: What is your opinion of the world today?
A: I have many thoughts. But in media interviews on this book tour, that question always comes up. Times are tough. We have horrific news and negativity on a daily basis from mainstream media. I’d say that’s when one needs to double down on kindness. That’s what Be a Good and other inspirational books are here for, to help inspire kindness. I do believe humans are inherently good, despite all this negativity we see in the news, and we need to be reminded of goodness in people.
The techie focus in our current culture has not brought us closer. I advocate for people to put down smartphones and look people in the eyes (which is pretty radical nowadays). Get back to day-to-day interpersonal reactions, be together, and be more of a community—not just in social media. I think the state of the world on the whole is similar to the way it was in the 14th century during the crusades, including unrest in the Middle East. So be kind, generous, patient, good to together. Instead of focusing on the doom loop with the big, global picture, do good in your own community. One at a time, little acts of kindness make a big difference in the world today.
Q: What is your contribution to society?
A: I think my real contribution is helping others be creative, especially writers and authors. Apart from helping develop fantastic titles, I volunteer at writer’s conferences, advising and counseling newbies and would-be writers. And I'm glad to say I’ve helped some people get published.
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