'Unafraid,' the novel and the conversation

'Unafraid,' the novel and the conversation

Jeff Golden has a novel idea. And he has a novel from which to explore that idea. The idea is that citizen participation in politics should be enjoyable and the book that gets people talking about that is "Unafraid: A Novel of the Possible."

"I'm turning 'Unafraid,' the book, into 'Unafraid,' the conversation as more and more readers want to talk about the content," Golden says. Readings of Golden's book have turned into salons and moved the discussion from what Golden calls the premise of the possible into the vision of the possible.

Golden will hold a series of unusual presentations of his book and its ideals. He will read from the book and facilitate a conversation on the importance and viability of re-engaging as active citizens in politics at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, at Eden Valley Orchards, 2310 Voorhies Road, Medford. Joining him will be the guitar duo of Duane Whitcomb and Steve Shaw. Wine, beer, other beverages and light food choices will be available.Tickets are $10. Call 512-2955.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 2, 3 and 4, Oregon Stage Works in Ashland will host a dramatic reading of portions of the book followed by audience discussion. Tickets are available at the door for $15, which entitles audience members to purchase the book at a $4 discount.

Gypsy Soul will join Golden for an evening of music and conversation Saturday, Oct. 4 at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ashland.

For Golden, the events are an opportunity to see politics as part of our lives, not a fringe activity, separate from what we ordinarily do.

"Citizenship involvement is making it a part of who we are," Golden says. "If it strikes people as something they need to carve out time for to add more responsibility and obligation to their lives and not very satisfying — it's not going to happen.

"If it doesn't offer a pay back while they're doing it, they won't do it. It has to be part of things people like to do anyway," Golden says, listing off things like gathering with neighbors, enjoying some form of entertainment, involving children and other generations, and taking modest steps to see what it feels like to realize that you do have an impact.

It helps to have a story or vision to help get people engaged. And that's where "Unafraid" comes in. For Golden, the book provides a provocative, interesting way to energize citizenship, and the informal, entertaining salons make it more conducive to the kind of conversation Golden feels is critical.

"We need people congregating to talk about what's important to them and get over that prohibition against talking about politics," Golden says. "Everybody knows we need more engagement. What's holding us back? That's what we explore in the conversation."

Excerpts of the book can be read at unafraidthebook.com.unafraidthebook.com.

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