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29 comments to Guestbook

  • Keep this moving among us. It is such a powerful message.

  • thank you, thank you, thank you for this book. may we all fight hatred with such creative and imaginative love.

  • Brian Ellis

    I found a vid of your poem on YouTube and left a message. Thought I repost it here as well.

    “My brother, Scott Ellis was one of the clowns. He spent many years running outdoor kitchens for Mountain Justice and other area social justice groups. Here is the only pic I have of him that day:

    My brother passed away on May 1. He had been at another function of MJ when it happened. At the very least he died doing what he was passionate about. This poem is a nice little piece to add to his memory, and while I know it was unintended, I thank you for that.”

    • david

      Dear Brian,

      Somehow this note got by me when you posted it back in May. I’m so sorry that it has taken so long for me to respond, and sorrier still about the loss of your brother. Thanks so much for sending that picture. I’m glad to know about him. He looks like someone I would love to have known.

      Peace to you, and blessings on your grieving as you continue to navigate that loss. Thanks again for writing.

  • Amanda

    As someone who was involved in the planning and implementation of the counter-protest (by members of Mountain Justice) that your poem/song/book is directly based on, I’d like to know where the profits of its sale are directed.

    • david

      Hi Amanda,

      Thanks so much for being a part of that important action. I’d be happy to talk with you about this, and I’ll send my phone number to your email. I hope you’ll call so we can check in. That’s a valid question. I’ve had some good conversation with other folks who were lead organizers, including Doc Hyena, and they’ve been really happy about the book and poem. I hope you are/will be too. Please check your email for my cell phone number. And thanks again.

      • david

        Hi again Amanda,

        I had proposed talking on the phone because I think relationships are at the heart of peace work, but as that is not your preference, it’s probably best to address it publicly since you’ve raised the issue in a public forum.

        I wrote the poem because I was so moved by what you and others did, and I still am. I’m an activist as well, having been to jail a couple of times in the last few years over justice issues in North Carolina, and this story seemed to be such a powerful teaching opportunity. If they learn about nonviolence at all, I’ve found most people learn about it through studying King and Gandhi, but that was so long ago now, especially from a kid’s perspective, and seems like it happened in black and white. This story is recent and accessible, and has the incredible added bonus of being really funny.

        I wanted to get the story out, so I wrote a poem about it. People responded so strongly to the poem that I decided they needed a way to take it home and spread it to people that aren’t coming to my concerts, and that led to producing the book. After we made the book, I also made a video of the whole thing (available here on the teacher resources page) so that people could share the story without buying the book. Of course, I’m thrilled for them to buy the book, too, but I’m attached to the idea of the story going as far as it can, whether or not I have anything to do with it, and whether or not there’s any revenue involved.

        I say revenue, rather than profit, because profit is what’s left over after the revenue outpaces the costs. That hasn’t happened yet, though we’re close to covering the production costs of the book, about $50,000, not including my time and art ($35K came from a Kickstarter campaign, the rest has come over time from sales of the book). The costs were high because I wanted to make the book really high quality, and wanted it to be on FSC-certified paper paper with as high a post-consumer content as possible.

        So there’s actually no profit for me to keep. I want to clarify, though, that if there ever is, I will feel OK about it. I am a songwriter, storyteller and activist. I write lots of songs about people and interpret their stories, and I don’t generally send them checks, any more than a journalist sends the newspaper’s profits to the subjects of her stories. I am privileged to make a simple living from my art, and I feel good about the fact that in that art I’m generally trying to have a positive influence in the world. If, some day, that works out well for me financially as well as all of the other ways it has worked out beautifully, I will celebrate that, just as I would celebrate it for you if you wrote a song about my jail time and it went to number one. I long for a world where more artists can make a living by shining a bit of light. If some day I make some money on this, then I will be able to give more money away than I do already, and that would be great, too.

        Like you who did this, though, I’m pretty clearly not in it for the money. I’ve spent more than I’ve made, and I’m still thrilled with how well the book has done. It seems to have amplified your original message in significant ways.

        Though I don’t think I had an obligation to be in touch with organizers of a public event, I also long for a world where people talk directly to each other around sensitive issues, as you have done with me, and establish relationships that go past what is required and on to how people would like to be engaged. So I made a significant effort to be in touch with several people, all of whom pointed me toward Doc Hyena as the lead organizer (I’m not using his real name here because I want to honor people’s privacy, knowing that the KKK doesn’t like them much). I contacted him several times, before, during and after the book came out, to check in and make sure everything felt right, that I had my details dialed in (especially in the inside back cover “What Really Happened” section), etc. I’ve stayed in touch with him whenever anything significant has happened with the book, and sent a short stack of books to him to distribute to friends when it came out. I’ve had other activists who were part of that day come to shows, and I like to give them copies of the book, too, though I remember one younger guy in Santa Cruz insisting on paying for it because he loved it and wanted to support the project.

        I hope this explanation clarifies things for you. Thanks, once more, for your part in such an important action. The ripples continue to flow, and I’m continuing to splash the water.



  • Carrie

    David…I found you by following a rabbit trail from Carrie Newcomer’s site…circumstances like this one are not a coincidence….but ordained. I have come to a place in my life where I want to be part of the solution and it is the Spirit that brings us together for the greater good of us all…even the white flour cone heads…

    I am thankful for you being made a part of my defining process.


  • I met my best friend Thelma (who people say resembles Whoopi Goldberg-as for me – I used to resemble Liza Minnelli!!) while I was washing down the sidewalk out front of my house. During a nasty-hot July day in NY many summers ago. I decided it was time to be silly, so I took off my shoes and started spraying my feet. It felt terrific. Up the street came Thelma, carrying her shoes, looking as weary as I’d ever seen anyone look! She stopped, stared at me, and I motioned for her to come join me, and stand in the spray. “Come know you want to.” We said hello, and caused quite a happy stir on the block, as people went by, with looks of envy because we really WERE having fun!! I think good times, and new friends are there for us to discover – if we just take a moment to look for them. Now, all these years later whenever anyone asks us, “How did you two meet?” “Hosin’ our toes!!” we chuckle. And the memory still makes us smile.

  • Scott Shepherd

    Hi David was checking out this website I look forward in reading this book and passing it on to my Grandchildren. Thank you so much for all you do. Hope to see you soon again.

    Scott Shepherd

    • david

      Thanks so much, Scott. Thank you too. Your voice on this topic is such an important one, since you have a perspective on it that few of us have.

  • Great work, David and Jenn. If you get up north to Chicago anytime, please look me up. Better yet, let me know in advance and I might be able to stage and promote a little roundtable, book tour event, concert, combo, etc. (esp. for the churchy set, but as an educator, I have some contacts in that realm as well…) The racism Dr. King encountered here, he is famous for saying, was different but just as bad as anything he and the civil rights movement encountered down South. Things have improved, but still a long way to go.

    • david

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks so much for those kind words. I’d love to get up to Chicago, actually. It’s been a while. I’ll ask Emma, who handles my booking, to give you a shout just to kick things around and see if we might think something up together.

      Yes, I’m afraid no geographic region has a corner on racism. It’s interesting to note that in the story that inspired the book, the supremacists came south from Ohio, and the clowns were the locals. And yes, as you say, we’ve come far and we still have a long way to go—even this side of my own skin, for that matter.

      Thanks again.

  • Robin

    I just stumbled upon the video of White Flour, via an article about Dr. Martin Luther King, I cannot wait to share this story with my 5th grade students. As a certified trainer of Kingian Nonviolence (based on Dr. King’s philosophy and techniques of conflict reconciliation) I have the honor of training my students in King’s methodology and principles. I plan on using your story to illustrate what my students are learning about nonviolence. I have never heard of the actual event, and so I am especially excited to show the children the photographs you’ve posted of the real individuals (clowns) who participated in the Direct Action at the KKK parade. So inspiring!
    I love the words you chose to tell the story, and, I can even link your story to the new national Common Core Standards for English-Language Arts.
    Thank you so much David!!!!

    • david

      Robin – thanks so much for your kind words, and for the important work you’re doing. I’ll be posting curricula within the next few days based on the book — a Common Core reading curriculum and a social studies curriculum as well. I’ll drop a note to let you know they are up.

      Peace to you,


  • You’ve inspired me, David. I hope to meet you one day and give you a big hug. I’ll probably buy a big red nose for the occasion and I hope you’ll take a picture with me. I am a California transplant living in Atlanta GA now. An African American writer/speaker, formerly a singles’ pastor at an Asian church in Orange County, CA, it has been an interesting transition. I am determined to keep my life beautifully multicultural. I can’t wait to have a reading of your book with some friends. Thank you for this wonderful gift.

  • Sue Witty

    David – Wow. I can’t believe it. I stumbled upon your website via a posting on FB by a friend about the “White Flour” incident. I remember you from JMU, from Kerrville, from various and sundry other crossings-of-paths and singer/songwriter scenes. I am so impressed to learn that you are now writing children’s stories!! Congrats! I myself am a hospital chaplain in Philadelphia now, and am just thrilled to see your name again! I continue to listen to your CDs all the time… especially “Flying”. And I look forward to catching up on your books!!

    Hope all is well with your soul.

    • david

      Sue — so good to hear from you! Thanks for poking around and seeing what I’m up to, and for the work you’re doing as a chaplain. Talk about a calling… As my Aussie friends say, goodonya, mate.

      I look forward to our paths crossing again in person. Thanks for the shout out here.

  • Darci McKinnon

    What a great story (& book) can’t wait to share with the school system here in West Virginia!! Thank You

  • Geoff McGlashan

    Great philosophy and lessons, David………… I will be reading this to my grandkids for years !
    I knew you could do it !!!

    • david

      Thanks so much for your support, Geoff. As I think you know, your enthusiasm was part of why I finally got around to this and made it happen. I’m deeply grateful.

  • Karen Howard

    Thanks David,
    This is a wonderful book and I look forward to sharing it with my kids!


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