Gratitude. Some might argue it’s one of the most important virtues and characteristics in a person. This year’s Lawton Big Read will be all about gratitude — unabashed gratitude.
After receiving a $20,000 grant from The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, the City of Lawton’s Arts and Humanities, together with other organizations in and around Lawton, is hosting multiple events in honor of this year’s Big Read throughout October. The kickoff event will take place from 10 a.m. to about 4 p.m. Saturday in the Museum of the Great Plains, 601 NW Ferris.
“We had several books to choose from, and we chose ‘Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude’ by Ross Gay,” Dory Thomas said. After her retirement, Thomas said she met Jason Poudrier, administrator for the City’s Arts and Humanities division, and then partnered up with him to bring events such as Big Read to Lawton and surrounding communities. Several libraries, among others from Elgin and Duncan, are participating, as well as Cameron University, the McMahon Auditorium Authority, the Life Ready Center and many others.
With several book discussions and workshops spread out through October, this Saturday’s event focuses on caring for the community, Thomas said. St. Vincent De Paul, who will have a station at one of the tables in the Museum of the Great Plains, will help with utilities, food and rent. The Food Bank will offer information on where people can get food. Family Promise is providing information about clothes, hotel nights and transportation. Also, there will be a local shelter with information about temporary stays. Apart from that, there will be a book give-away, door prizes, T-shirts and refreshments.
“Based on Gay’s book, we decided to do all those programs for the communities,” Thomas said. “I work as a volunteer; I hear people asking for help. We’re trying to do as much as we can.”
For people interested in Gay’s poems, the Museum of the Great Plains offers free entry throughout October for visitors to see a display of several items from Gay’s poetry.