My name is Brandon Monk. I’m an attorney in a small town in Texas. Teachers are scattered throughout my family tree and my dad used to tell me all the time I should teach. I ended up going to law school, but there was some part of me that wanted to give something back in a different way than the practice of law allows.
After law school, I stopped reading and, honestly, stopped growing as a person. I regret the time I missed and have worked hard to grow by reading, learning, and writing. During the last couple of years successfully moved from reading only for work to reading daily for pleasure, education, and perspective.
As I reflect on what this blog has become I start to realize it was written for that stagnant state in my life. Because I’ve been there, I think I can help.
I am what I would call an “ordinary reader.” By that I mean I’m not an academic. There’s nothing wrong with being an academic, but I just don’t come to reading with that background. Instead, I feel more like a mediator operating between the rooms of the writer/academic and the every day citizen that wants something more from life and is willing to give reading a shot.
So my suggestion is this: sign up to the mailing list and get the posts from this site delivered to your email inbox (you should find the option for this on the sidebar at the top and to the right on this page). Follow for a while, and then share your story and advice and let’s grow a community of readers together.
If you’d like to read some fiction I wrote you can find a story called “Rain Check” online at Blue Lake Review.
I’m on the Board and am a founding member for a 501(c)(3) called the Walt Whitman Foundation. You can learn more here.
The Walt Whitman Foundation is the culmination of a ten year vision shared by a group of seven friends and colleagues. The Foundation’s purpose is to provide assistance to high school and college students through mentoring and scholarships. Mentoring may take many forms, including the areas of college selection, the financial aid process, academic progress and career choice. Not all students who are accepted into the mentoring program will receive scholarships, although as the resources of the Foundation continue to grow so will the number of available scholarships. At its most fundamental level, however, the goal of the Foundation is to foster confidence, creativity and commitment in young men and women so that they may — in the words of Walt Whitman — “contribute a verse to the powerful play.”
Directors of the Walt Whitman Foundation live in Texas, and are spread out geographically from Abilene to Beaumont, San Marcos to Houston and Austin. The Board meets regularly to conduct the affairs of the Foundation, and has established three committees: (1) Selection Committee (2) Mentoring Committee (3) Fundraising Committee.
The Selection Committee oversees the application process and the award of scholarships. Ultimately, the selection committee makes recommendations to the full Board, which determines recipients. The Mentoring Committee oversees the application and selection of mentors and students, and makes recommendations to the full Board. The Mentoring Committee also coordinates the pairing of mentors with students. The Fundraising Committee oversees fundraising for the Foundation through solicitation of donations and sale of products
The Foundation is currently funded exclusively through donations. A premium is placed on both transparency and efficiency. In particular, the board strives to keep administrative costs at a minimum, often choosing to pay overhead expenses out of pocket instead of diminishing the Foundation’s funds. Donors, or others interested, are encouraged to contact the Foundation for more information.