"The Authenticity Project" is a novel about a single green notebook that brings six strangers together.
Tosa’s All-City Read program is hoping 36 notebooks, scattered throughout Wauwatosa, will help bring an entire community together.
It's simple: If you see a notebook with the words "Authentic Tosa" on the cover, you are encouraged to pick it up, flip through the pages to discover what other neighbors have written and even share your own thoughts on the blank pages of the notebook.
Maureen Badding, chairperson for Tosa’s All-City Read, is hoping the experiment will connect neighbors throughout Wauwatosa.
"Everything is so divisive right now in the world, especially in the U.S., that I think this is just a really good time for a project like this," Badding said.
Clare Pooley's novel "The Authenticity Project" begins with an older man deliberately leaving a notebook filled with his thoughts at a local cafe. Others soon find the notebook and write their own truths in it.
Badding said this starts a ripple effect, positively affecting others' lives.
She hopes the same will happen in Wauwatosa, as the notebooks will be available to read and write in at cafes, restaurants, senior centers, schools and at more locations throughout the city.
"We thought, what a fun way for us to do an event in Tosa that's going to bring neighbors together to get to know each other, to get to know things about each other that they might not have otherwise known," Badding said.
"It's a snapshot of where people are in 2021 or 2022," she added.
Julie Merck, a committee member with Tosa's All-City Read, said they might compile a binder with some excerpts from the writings at the end of the project.
"This specific project I think will get people thinking, coming off of a very stressful two years with a lot of division, and we're looking for a way to really introduce the book to people that would open up dialogue," Merck said.
Merck hopes others take the time to read what their neighbors are sharing.
"My end goal is for people to write enough of who they are and for people to read what's been written. It's sort of a creative project, but to me, the value of the creative is people actually getting to appreciate what's been written," Merck said.
Tosa’s All-City Read program is in its ninth year. With every book picked, events and programs are organized with the goal to promote discussion and dialogue.
Book discussions, dance lessons, food tastings, storytelling workshops and more have been organized by Tosa’s All-City Read.
"I can't think of a better way for somebody to get to know somebody else than to discuss a book," Badding said.
Tosa’s All-City Read will soon announce other future events related to "The Authenticity Project," which will take place in late winter 2022.
Badding said they're still distributing notebooks to Wauwatosa businesses.
If you're a Wauwatosa business owner who wants one of the notebooks, contact Badding at [email protected]
Learn more about the program at www.tosasallcityread.com.
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Source : https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/west/news/wauwatosa/2021/10/26/tosas-all-city-read-program-the-authenticity-project/6109601001/1014