Salina Arts & Humanities has published a new book, “Many and Varied Paths: Real-Life Stories from the Kansas Plains.” The book features essays by thirty-five Salina and Saline County residents and twenty-four brief vignettes from other residents.
The publication is the brainchild of Salina Arts & Humanities commissioner Mike Durall who was responding in part to the department’s mission “to change lives and build community.” He asked the contributors to think about a life-changing moment that helped shape who they are today.
Durall commented, “Each day, we encounter friends, family members, colleagues, and strangers as we go about our normal routines. Yet we rarely know what is truly in their hearts and souls.” The stories are a glimpse into the writer’s world.
According to the organization, the contributors come from diverse backgrounds and share personal stories about challenges, triumph, loss, and perseverance. Among other people, Meridian Media News Director Todd Pittenger and his wife Shana each wrote a chapter in the book offering varied views of his cancer diagnosis.
“The Salina Arts & Humanities Foundation was thrilled to support this project,” commented executive director Brad Anderson. “The arts and humanities provide an opportunity to see ourselves through the creative lens of others.” This is the first publication for Salina Arts & Humanities in more than two decades.
Regarding his aspirations as editor of the book Durall offered, “I hope this book will encourage us to look kindly upon one another with compassion and understanding because we are all wayfarers on life’s uncertain journey.”
Private contributions covered the production costs, and city funding was used for editorial expenses. Copies are available at the Salina Public Library and other publicly accessible spaces such as waiting rooms, school libraries, non-profit agencies, and other community venues. The books are also for sale at the Smoky Hill Museum Store.
A special reading of selected essays and a discussion with the authors and editor is planned for 7:00 pm, November 16, in the lobby of the Smoky Hill Museum.