The Art of Service


imageSix years ago, I had a pressing idea. It was an idea that stemmed from necessity; a need for me to express something I had experienced and tell the world of what I had witnessed. That idea started with a single word. That word turned into a sentence, which turned into a paragraph, to pages, to chapters. Eventually, what I had before me was an idea that had grown into a memoir: 500 pages of my life experiences with a focus on the hardships I witnessed as a soldier, cop, and teacher. My hope was that someone would read my book and find inspiration to make a difference. I hoped to spark a movement of positive change in this world, and writing was my platform to do so.

I realized, however, that such a goal is not easy. It requires hard work, late nights, and a tremendous amount of networking. It can be a lonely task, and there have been times I’ve felt like giving up. With little to no feedback from readers, I began to doubt the power of my project. I wondered if my writing had an impact and multiple thoughts of self-doubt flooded my mind.


One day, however, I received an email from my childhood friend, Lori. She had finished reading my book and was so incredibly excited to talk to me about it. She had so much to say that she felt her words were better suited for a phone conversation than an email. Still nervous that she was going to tell me the book was terrible, I waited in anticipation for our discussion. To my delight, she gave an honest reflection of the impact my work had on her. She told me how she was able to relate to some of the hardships I described, and how she took inspiration from what I had expressed. As a writer, there is no greater compliment! In an email that followed our conversation, Lori wrote:

You know, Dennis, when we think about the theory of social capital and how we can only go as high as the people around us, for me to have a friend like you, who takes risks, is true to themselves and their loved ones, and works to put something good into the world, it makes me feel like anything is possible and we really are in control of our own happiness. So it’s exciting for me, and I can only hope more Dennis Nappis emerge into this world to inspire us.”

Service of Change

Since then, Lori has been a regular follower (and contributor) of my Blog and Changecasts. She has offered me regular words of encouragement and support, and referred numerous guests to my show. She was one of our first Changecast guests and has since volunteered to join the program. Lori offers regular commentary while handling our social media feeds when we are live and always has great ideas on ways to improve. She regularly offers words of encouragement, and it is those words of encouragement that have sparked this posting.

As a social worker in Philadelphia, Lori has direct understanding of the need for positive change. She works hard at her job to bring comfort, education, and healing to her clients, yet feels driven to do more.

RipplesAbout a year and a half ago, as Service of Change was just beginning, Lori contacted me with a request. She wanted to know if she could provide a weekly haiku for the website in hopes of inspiring other people to write their own haiku poems or share stories of inspiration. I was elated at the idea, and flattered by her belief in this small grass-roots movement of change. Ever since then, Lori has submitted a weekly haiku for Haikuesday of Change, every-single-Tuesday. She has even started taking a weekly picture to accompany her haiku, as the image adds more power to her words.

With just 17 syllables, Lori can command the inspiration of an essay. Her words are brief, but it is through that brevity that she finds her strength. They resonate with me, and those three expressive lines sometimes spark long spans of thought and reflection on their meaning and message. In her haiku titled 05 27 14, she writes:

Heroes don’t need capes,

or even super powers.

Their work is subtle.”

Lori is such a hero. She understands the need for change, and has found a way to communicate the importance of that change in a compact expression of compassion. As her friend, I am honored that she chose to share these with me. I am in awe over the feeling behind them, and it is because of Lori’s weekly message that I felt compelled to tell as many people as possible about the power of her words.

The Art of ServiceTheArtOfService

I am proud to announce that she has compiled a collection of her favorite haiku poems into a book and is allowing Service of Change to publish them. Together, we have spent the past few months selecting her favorite poems and formatting them for publication. The product we created is a work of art in itself. Each page is simple yet elegant and captures the magic of Lori’s message.

On May 2nd, we will be releasing Lori’s project to the world. As stated in the introduction to her book, Lori believes “art is one of our most powerful forms of resistance and revolution.” I believe that this is where change begins, and this is how we can make a difference. As I stated at the beginning of this article, this movement started with an idea. That idea turned into a word, which resulted in a memoir, which turned into a blog, podcast, and the publication of this beautiful work of poetic art. Lori’s words offer inspiration in thought and action. Imagine what they can inspire in you.

I hope you’ll join us.

We are offering Lori’s book in paperback and Kindle formats, and will release this project on May 2, 2015. You can pre-order your copy today for just $0.99 and support Lori and her first book. Even if you plan to purchase the paperback, I encourage to pre-order the Kindle version as well. Besides having her inspiration at your fingertips on your mobile device, each sale will help raise Lori’s ranking on Amazon which will then showcase her work to more potential readers. Please help spread the word.

Share this article, share links to her book, and tell everyone you know!

Her words deserve to be read. They deserve to be felt. And they deserve to inspire those in search of change.

If you’d like to connect with Lori and subscribe to her newsletter, visit her blog, Uphill.

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