“A book is like a piece of rope. It takes on meaning only in connection with the things it holds together.” – Norman Cousins
The remarkable fifth anniversary of the Mississippi Book Festival was certainly “one for the books,” and gave the Community Foundation for Mississippi a stellar story to tell to celebrate our 25th year serving Mississippi for good. How appropriate, then, is this quote, which celebrates the persistent power of literature even as it distills a theme of meaning, connection, and the power of the intertwined threads of our story.
If it’s true that the twist of strands in a rope serves not only to keep the rope together, but also to more evenly distribute the load among the individual strands, then it’s an apt metaphor for our lineage — which began when a group of Leadership Jackson alumni laid the first strand in the story of the Community Foundation. They dared to imagine new ways to strengthen the place they lived, with four donor funds and a few hundred thousand dollars. A quarter-century later those four funds have become 247, totaling more than $60 million dollars.
Similarly, the group that planned the first Mississippi Book Festival began their story with a not-quite-3,000 book lovers converging on the Mississippi State Capitol Green. Five years later, the festival attracted almost 10,000 participants from across the country and authors from around the world, while simultaneously reinforcing a sense of literary pride, community, and imagination in the state. It’s quickly becoming a model other states wish to emulate, and is showing great signs of tenacity.
In each case, people with limited financial resources but an abundance of imagination envisioned something better for their community and the state. Each of us, today, are threads whose load-bearing ability is greater because our threads are braided together — a whole with more tenacity than individual strands laid next to each other.
Weave me a rope that will pull me through these impossible times.” – Tim Finn, New Zealand songwriter
We are as powerful as our connections, as strong as the ideas we find meaningful, as lasting and as lovely as the tapestry we create from the people and places we weave together.
The ways we choose to invest in the causes we care about also entwine us more closely with people and place, as we fabricate a story that is both “for good” and “forever.” But the first step is to take the first step. We’re here to help you weave your “ever after” story for good, for Mississippi, forever.
If you want to learn more, give us a call at (601) 974-6044.