Feature By Penn Ketchum | Banner photo by Will Marks
I recently sat down to reflect on my newest project, a book called Our Father (In Other Words). At first, I found myself a little uncertain as to what the “why” of the story was, but as I began talking, it became clear. The “why” is the message that we are not alone. We are in this mess together and my desire is to make that clear. But the “how” and other aspects are cool to talk about as well. So I asked myself what else might be interesting to know about this book and the result is the following conversation. To clear up any confusion, yes, I am effectively talking to myself. (This is nothing new.)
Why did you write this book?
I always thought there was something to be said for taking a user-friendly approach to this prayer. The prayer has so much meaning for millions of people around the world but there is still a lot more to learn from the prayer. I thought I could explore the prayer and do it in a way that is non-threatening and welcoming.
How did you write this book?
I literally wrote each phrase by hand using a Sharpie. The majority of the book was written on various Amtrak trains to and from New York City. I would brainstorm ideas in pencil and then I created each page with the Sharpies as they came together.
Who is Chris Georgalas?
Chris is a world-class artist based out of New York City. Chris did a show with my dad back in the day. One day I saw a link on Facebook to some of Chris’ work and I was immediately struck. I was moved from the very first time I saw that little boy with the crown. I think it speaks to our humanity and is consistent with my belief that we are all little kids. Really, every grown-up is just a little kid trying to get by. Chris, like me, is a real kid at heart. He laughs easily, experiments with his work freely, and is simply brilliant.
So what is the message of your book?
I love the frequent use of inclusive words like “Our” and “Us.” The message of the book is fundamentally the same message as the prayer which is that “you are not alone.” We are all in this mess together—just a bunch of little kids trying to get by. If you dig deeper, there are many other messages of hope and strength in the prayer as well. The book hopes to help explore those as well but the real message, I think, is that we are not in this alone.
Why is that message so important?
I mean, I think it’s an important message because often we feel alone. Even people who have dear friends, loving family members, and lots of social interactions sometimes feel like they have to figure stuff out by themselves… they don’t. We don’t. We can struggle together. Everyone has worries, troubles, and sometimes very serious problems. Life isn’t easy. But it’s nice to know we’re not in it alone.
Where could I buy a copy of the book?
On Amazon, or from our website: www.ourotherwords.com