Dear Readers and Friends of CWU, The world has changed since you heard from me last. In early March 2020, as I sat typing my previous quarterly update, no state had issued any stay-at-home order, public mask-wearing would have drawn curious stares, George Floyd was not a household name, and American cities’ statues and monuments stood pretty much as they had for the previous hundred years. And, though trivial in comparison, in early March 2020 the second CWU volume was just an unpublished manuscript. None of these things hold true today. The past 3.5 months have brought about change at a pace not seen since the 2008/09 financial crisis, raising questions that even a 16,000-mile, yearlong journey into the heart of America can’t answer. I do believe, though, that my recently-published book, Conversations With US – American Southwest, and its predecessor, Great Lakes States, can offer readers a glimpse into how other Americans might be experiencing our present moment. For example, perhaps current events have you searching for an in-depth discussion with a person of color on how race relations in America have changed (and not changed) since the Civil Rights movement (Ernie Broadnax, Day 14, Great Lakes States), on the relationship between minorities and the police, from a man who is both (Oscar Miranda, Day 21, American Southwest), or about how Native peoples view their relationship with America (Angie James, Roy Williams, Philbert Watahomigie, Jr., and others, American Southwest). You may be wondering how, say, the owners of a small farm might fare under our current healthcare system (the Wagner family, Day 34, Great Lakes States), or how our neighbors in Canada, for example, fare under their very different model (several Canadians, Day 35, Great Lakes States). If these types of questions have been on your mind lately, I invite you to join me and the touring bike on a long ride through the country to explore them, and many others, in the print, digital, or (for Great Lakes States) audiobook versions of the first two Conversations With US volumes. Click here to order your copies. And, I hope you’ll leave a review on Amazon once you’ve finished the tour. If you’ve already done one or both of those, thank you.
It won’t come as a surprise that COVID has drastically affected CWU’s schedule. The silver lining is that folks from across the country can now attend what would have otherwise been in-person-only events, like my author series interview with Sean Murphy, the founder and executive director of the 1455 literary arts organization. I hope you’ll virtually join me for an hour this afternoon (Saturday, June 27th) at 3pm EST for a wide-ranging discussion, and a short reading from American Southwest. I’ll also be leading several online writing/publishing-focused seminars over the next two months if you’d like to check them out. Visit spokewordbooks.com for more details. While I don’t claim any special insight into how we might emerge from this period in our history, I can say that I hope we harness it to bring ourselves closer to the ideals that form the basis for our shared nation. I appreciate your support of my effort, through CWU, to contribute in some way to that same end. -Chris Register