This August, PRI's staff shares some of the things that are inspiring their work during a busy summer.
This month, the choices include e-commerce success, a novel trilogy, sculpting nature, organ donation, and more.
|Hungering For More
Allyson Murphy finished reading—make that, finished racing through—all three books in the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. This addictive series is set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future in North America where a controlling government subjects young citizens to a fight to the death. Don’t let the label “young adult” scare you off. These books are packed with compelling characters, historical and political allusions, and references to pop culture’s obsession with wealth, appearance, and even reality television. She recommends them as a great end-of-summer read. Allyson’s also excited for the first movie, which is being filmed now.
|Donation of a Lifetime
Chintan Parikh is inspired by the zest for living that each and every living being strives for. We are all so fortunate to have everything we have in our lives and he’s thankful for that. Chintan is also inspired by organ donors. This kind act can vastly improve and often save someone else’s life.
|Seize the Moment
The father of a close friend of Nichole Chobin recently died. He had been estranged from his family for many decades. He died alone in his sleep, in a boarding house, just miles from where his children lived. But, his children didn’t know he had been living there. After the police notified the family of his death, the children came to the home and found scrapbooks with pictures and other remnants that told them he had been following his children’s and grandchildren’s lives. The inspiration for Nichole came as an awakening . . . take hold of what you have, never lose touch, and regard every waking moment as a treasured gift, not a right. Time is not something to be taken for granted as it fleets quickly and never returns.
|“I Love Willow and Willow Loves Me”
Dany Petraska is inspired by artist Bonnie Gale. Yes, Bonnie actually says, “I love willow and willows loves me.” Bonnie is a professional willow basketmaker and teacher, and very proud—rightfully so—of being a “self-employed artist.” Dany was lucky enough to take a class in making willow garden trellises at the Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts in Vermont. She spent the entire day learning and weaving and listening to Ms. Gale speak about art, life, energy, and even her own life’s story. Bonnie is very excited about her work with living willow structures, a process of building with willow by putting cut pieces into the ground, building and weaving them together, and the structure then “lives” and grows. It’s art that needs maintenance but, Dany, for one, would love the responsibility.
|World of "Chorecraft"
Elena Nazzaro has become the dungeon master of her own multiplayer campaign. But, instead of leading a band of adventurers to slay monsters in bloodthirsty battles, she’s leading her family into a war against household dirt. That’s where Chore Wars comes in. Chore Wars lets you claim points for household chores. By getting other people in your house or workplace to sign up, you can assign point rewards for individual tasks and chores. Even if you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons or any other role-playing game, it’s fun—and productive—to rack up points competing against roommates, co-workers, or, in Elena’s case: her children. Elena reports that it’s a great motivator for her three children. The whining has decreased and one of them has even been getting up early to claim all the points for emptying the dishwasher! Win-win!
|From Millions to Billons.com
Kevin Williams is inspired by the success of online shopping, namely the success of Amazon.com. Amazon was founded by Jeffrey P. Bezos (Time Magazine 1999 Person of the Year) and was incorporated in 1994. The first book sold on Amazon.com was Douglas Hofstadter’s Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought. Amazon survived the popping of the dot-com bubble and first turned a profit ($5 million = 1¢ per share) in the fourth quarter of 2001. The modest profit showed the business of online book sales could be profitable, and was the prelude to greater fortune. Today, Amazon is the worlds largest online retailer with over $34 billion in sales in 2010.
|Get the G-Press
Frank Mendelson watched as it was planted last October. He wondered during winter about its fate in frozen ground beneath a veil of fallen leaves. But about a month ago the scapes curled their way into his sauté pan. And now, county-wide, the bounty sits in baskets by the checkout counter. Fresh and demanding, in the way that seasonal food requires you detour from the supermarket to the local farm stand, the large buoyant bulbs are back. Fresh garlic!