In today’s episode, I read aloud a piece I wrote this morning about ‘Stepping in 2023.’
This is followed by what I feel is the most important interview I have had so far on the Estes Park School District Board of Education’s upcoming decision to allow a new charter school into the district possibly. (The interview starts at about 15:27.) Please help to share this across social media.
Mike Dunn is the host of the RethinkingEDU podcast and a local educator in our community.
Dunn has worked in independent, progressive, public, charter, and outdoor schools for over 15 years. His career has focused on helping young people make positive, active, authentic decisions in their daily lives while preparing them to upend oppression and cycles of poverty they may be experiencing. In the classroom, he has taught a range of subjects while consistently preparing students with the skills, tools, and reflective processes to be positive, productive citizens in our complex world.
Dunn started this work as the primary counselor, developer, and innovator for a college guidance program focused on students with language-based learning disabilities and now acts as the Dean of College & Career Counseling for students seeking an authentic, transformational, liberatory high school experience. He has helped students get clear on their interests, submit applications to colleges around the United States, and pursue a range of paths that align with their values and the lives they wish to live.
You can find his podcast, RethinkingEDU, by following the link below. In it, he and his guests Explore and envision what education could be.
Listen on Apple Podcasts:
Here is the Essay I read in the episode:
Stepping into 2023
2022 has been a strange year for me and one that has run nonstop since before last year’s new year even hit the scene.
This new year doesn’t likely slow down for me anytime soon. So, I tried my best to take the holidays a little slower. That didn’t work out all that well, as the universe had other plans. (I wound up doing five appearances between MSNBC and CNN during the week or so before Christmas.) However, it does look like I will at least have a lull before February when my new book hits the bookshelves.
I will have a media book tour in the middle of February. This will mostly be on the east coast, here in Colorado, and a few spots on the west coast. But who knows, it may wind up being via Zoom, primarily out of my living room.
This year has been strange for all of us, but we carry on. I think, politically, we have seen the beginning of a return to rejecting lunacy that has haunted us over the past several years. But there is still work to do.
I watched an inspiring documentary this morning that spoke to my soul and my moment in time. It is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham’s 2018 book.
‘The Soul of America.’ It seeks to illuminate our present-day, fraught political reality by exploring historical challenges, including the women’s suffrage movement, the incarceration of Japanese Americans, McCarthyism, and the fight for Civil Rights.
If you have yet to see the Documentary, which is available to stream on HBO Max, or read the book, I suggest checking out both.
One thing I have made time to do over the past year is read plenty. It has been a continued year of writing for me, and I must also be read just as much when I am writing. I am not always successful in finding the time to read, but this year wasn’t bad.
During the Pandemic, I decided to start writing full-time, and the universe has taken me up on the offer. It was the best decision I have made so far in my professional life.
In this endeavor to read, I have, as I do every year, reread Stephen King’s ‘On Writing.’ Some of the more memorable books I have read over the past year have been: President Barak Obama’s ‘A Promised Land.’ Over the holiday, I found another book that is currently also speaking to my soul on the topic of Life, the Universe, and everything else, entitled, ‘The Grand Biocentric Design’ authored by Robert Lanza, Bob Berman, and Matej Pavsic. I have always said that conscious life seems to have some way of informing or manifesting reality. This book takes a quantum mechanics approach to that line of thought. You may not know these authors off the top of your head. But you have probably heard a story inspired by one of them (or watched it.) Robert Lanza is the person whose life inspired the movie ‘Good Will Hunting.’ I also rounded out this year’s book reading with more of Phillip K Dick’s short stories.
My first literary love for writing will always be fiction. It is what I produce every day. However, it is much slower for me to get out there. Now that I am just waiting on the release of my ‘Perils of Extremism,’ (I still feel that my original title is better, The Propagandist.) I have been working on my new fiction novel. This one is not based on a supernatural world, but rather a world that I think our world may look like in fifteen years if things keep moving towards the worst-case scenarios. The working title is ‘The End of Us,’ But I am pretty sure it will change. I am currently roughly ten chapters in. The story starts like a cyber-punk thriller but quickly finds itself wading into what many would think of as a western.
We will see how it goes. But I think it is a timely story that deals with the repercussions of many of the issues we are now grappling with as a country and how we might eventually overcome some of our tribal division through human connection. My literary agent has agreed to pitch it to major publishers. She will also be trying to find significant publishing homes for my Supernatural Fiction series ‘Colorado’s Chance,’ which I self-published during the Pandemic without an editor, a mistake I hope never to repeat. I am a halfway-decent storyteller. I am not an editor.
The new year may also bring an entrée into writing and producing documentary films/series. I have two studios I have been brainstorming with. However, with the current shifts in Hollywood, I am not holding my breath that anything will manifest. Though I hope they do. I plan to continue doing what I have done over the past several years. Just Keep writing every day.
I hope you and yours all have a better new year than last year. However, it may have been.
Jason Van Tatenhove
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