By Esteemed Member/Creative Director Brother Andy
On the surface, Dolce Vita di Libro is a book club like so many others. People read books, people discuss, people eat and drink...
Yet, as an artist who is way, way out of "the box", Dolce Vita di Libro has afforded me the extraordinary opportunity to showcase whatever talents I may have in a safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere -- and at my own pace and in my own manner. Creative-types such as Esteemed Members Jennifer Johnson, Peggy Vermeer and Davidro give unparalleled support and encouragement to all contributions, from whoever or wherever they may come from. The freethinking group is actually made up of personal expressions of each member, brought together, and openly shared to an amazing level, and unified under the goal of "fun". I am the living embodiment -- "The DVdL Poster Boy" -- of how an overly-opinionated individual can be a part of a "community", maintain politeness, and still retain an independent thinker status. We're like Burning Man -- only with a lot less naked people and without the messy bonfire.
As a performer and film-maker, a platform is provided by DVdL in which to delve into odd-ball characters and strange situations I would not have envisioned for myself or would ever be asked to do in any other context. The crazy video vignettes I've written, produced, starred in and posted represent a personal challenge. DVdL is a stage, of sorts, and I can be whatever I choose and change things up, if I want to. Plus, Esteemed Members are now joining in on these productions and have had a blast dressing up, acting the fool, and putting on a show. Why not?
The DVdL blog has been a run-away train of a learning-curve. Every day brings surprises. The kindly compliments of Esteemed Members such as Jacqueline Wachs, Stacie Khouri, Rosemary Flaherty, Arlene Dulaney, Debbie Ray Sconlon and Francesca Johnson are heart-warming and humbling. Now, the blog is being acknowledged by businesses as a great promotional avenue while supporting what DVdL stands for.
As someone who wasn't properly educated, I find myself in the midst of very worldly, extremely articulate, compassionate people who understand and appreciate literature and its place in culture. These are people -- Esteemed Member Catherine Tracey, for instance -- who know what they are talking about and have no problem finding the answer to something they don't know. Intelligence is earned by hard work, from what I can see, different from simply being a "smart" person.
As a budding businessman, the network of successful DVdL Members who can make commitments and follow through is inspiring. Esteemed Members such as Nedra Young and Hunter Johnson have taught me about analytical thinking, respect and responsibility, and particularly the machinations of how the world works through society's political, religious and corporate structures which are aspects of life I have only had minor experiences with first-hand. It's awe-inspiring to see someone walk in the room prepared, confident, listening, and bringing something valuable to the table.
As someone who lives with the condition of Asperger's Syndrome, my natural tendencies are to be anti-social, withdraw, to feel overwhelmed or unable to fulfill social expectations. Dolce Vita di Libro is a calling card for me to go to places I wouldn't have gone otherwise and approached a stranger who quickly becomes an acquaintance due to the common language of intellectual and fine living pursuits that Dolce Vita di Libro represents. DVdL gives me credibility -- even if it's in my own mind -- and sometimes, for extroverted introverts such as I am, that's all you need as a more-than-handy tool to get on with it. Dolce Vita di Libro's sincerity when it comes to community service gives me a meaning and purpose which helps fuel my efforts.
As an average person, even in the short time the group has assembled, I have acquired many wonderful memories. The laughing, the insights, the hopes and aspirations have been cherished gifts, particularly appreciative for someone whose life hasn't always been as happy as it could have been. My world-view has widened in the last couple of months. I have learned that people inherently seek education and entertainment as they search for ways to connect. Part of what they are looking for is the essence of self in relationship to the world -- self-actualization -- and DVdL provides the vehicle in which to experience various aspects of life that are worthy of celebrating -- The Sweet Life (of books and otherwise).
DVdL is now an important part of my life, part of my history, part of my daily living, giving me -- at least at present -- a broadening context. Dolce Vita di Libro is no ordinary book club, and never will be, because the members are extraordinary. Thanks to each and every one of you for allowing me to be a part of who you are and supporting what it is that I do.
The future? Hmmm...