Progressive Prison Project
Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut

Our Week at The Nantucket Project 2013
Days One, Two, Three & Four

Jeff Grant

Day One: Greenwich. Monday, Sept. 23, 2013:   

TNP week begins – I’ve got the jitters already.  So glad I got took on yesterday’s sermon at UCC West Norwalk – I am very grateful to Rev. Holly Adams for the opportunity – what we thought would be a “TNP tune-up” wound up having all sorts of “a-ha” moments too.  It’s often that way when we meet new people and we share things that are so close to us like family and friends who are in prison – wounds get opened and we heal and bond together in lovely and unpredictable ways.  When I was lawyering for all those years, these things rarely happened.  Now, it happens almost for us all the time.  It is a blessing. 

Lynn & I are saddened by the news that Mikhail Gorbachev is having emergency back surgery and will not be coming to TNP.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family for a speedy recovery.  Tom & Kate must be freaking out – but they are pros & troopers and already have Sen. John McCain filling in as Keynote.  Not too shabby.  There’s a wild mix of personalities, politics and philosophies going on at this conference – we can’t wait to see what happens. 

Tom emailed me the first day presenter list.  I am slotted third in the conference – Friday afternoon – right after Steve Case! – jitters now turning to full-on anxiety attack :).  So glad to be on early & then be able to enjoy the rest of TNP.

TNP is a very casual conference – I learned this last year when I was a 2012 TNP Fellow.  Everybody is pretty much walking around in topsiders and dockers.  That said, I have no idea why the dry cleaner has become the singular focus of my attention. 

*On a somber note, we just found out that our friend Robert Bray passed away last evening.  Please join us in prayers for Bob and his entire family.  The entire Greenwich Community will dearly miss Bob and his gentle, kind spirit.  


Day Two: Greenwich. Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013:   

Fellows Academy Luncheon.  Leslie Bresette emailed to ask if Lynn and I would attend this year’s Fellows’ luncheon on Friday, to support our friend Marc Skvirsky who will be speaking.  (Last year, when I was a 2012 TNP Fellow, U.S. Senator Bill Frist and I gave the speeches at the Fellows Academy Luncheon to kick-off The Nantucket Project – what an honor!).  Marc is the Vice President of the important Boston-based nonprofit, Facing History and Ourselves – we met at last year’s TNP and became old friends overnight. 

Sunny. High around 62. Winds NW 15-25. High tide 3:44 p.m.  An example of a helpful – and admittedly compulsive – daily email I subscribed to from The Nantucket Inquirer to guide us our clothing choices for the trip on Thursday.  Oy vey!

Sold Out. I received a call yesterday from a close friend – who was trying to find TNP tickets for his close friend.  He told me that TNP was Sold Out – and did I have an “extra” lying around? Or could I give Tom Scott a call on his behalf?  For the record, TNP does not give presenters extra tickets – they are super generous but I think they probably sell tickets to cover the huge cost of this extraordinary weekend.  I did call Tom – and he told me that although have a long waiting list they are trying to accommodate everybody in some fashion.  I love these people. 

A Redding Lament.  You’ll find a great quote from Teddy Roosevelt that I reposted on our facebook page,  I found this quote posted last week by our friend Gail in tribute to our friend Walt, who is recovering from Multiple Myeloma.  Walt is a one of the greatest guys we have every met – a long time mentor of inner city kids in the Family ReEntry/ Fresh Start Champions program in Bridgeport, CT. We are pulling for you Walt! 

I’ve got to put in a mention in here for Hopeton Scott, our Senior Pastor at The First Baptist Church of Bridgeport.  While we are at TNP, on Fri. Sept. 27th & Sat. 28th ABCCONN will hold its World Mission Conference in New Haven, CT. Pastor Scott will lead Bible Study on Sat. morning.   If you are in or near New Haven on this Sat. morning, it is worth the time to be in a Bible Study with Pastor Scott!

A big shout out to TNP’s own Jenelle Ferri and Philip Davidson for help cleaning up my Power Point for my presentation on Friday.  Last year I was at TNP2012 and saw some of the greatest technological presentations ever made on the planet – so I know that my Power Point is pretty much that of a fourth-grader.  I take comfort in knowing the reason I have been invited to present at TNP is to tell a human story.  Well, at least my Power Point will be decidedly human… 


Day Three: Greenwich, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013:   

The Art of Surviving Prison – not only is it the title of my presentation on Friday – it’s also the name of my “soon-to-be-released” book.  Issue #1:  Some TNP materials say that this book is “due out fall 2013.”  Issue #2:  My literary agent, Amanda Mecke, is only now first shopping this book around to publishers.  Issue #3: As anybody in or out of the literary world knows, it would be a snowball’s chance in…

The Art of Surviving Prison, Redux –  I accept complete responsibility for any overambitious statements I made as to the publication date of my book. Whew!

A word to the TNP Fellows.  Upon reflection, I think I had a good attitude as I engaged last year’s The Nantucket Project as a 2012TNPFellow – I think I had achieved some portion of a “beginner’s mind.”  This was extremely helpful in having the courage to introduce myself to – and having meaningful dialogue with – the kind of interesting people that I would meet at TNP (many of whom had appeared on magazine covers).  I’m desperately trying to coax myself into a similar state now.  You know how it is?  The harder I try the less it seems to happen.  Here’s a link to the column I wrote a year ago:   

Clothing crisis – feedback welcomed.  As I may have mentioned at least a few times already, I’m having a serious wardrobe issue for TNP.  Here’s the thing – for a guy who likes to think he’s pretty funny & accessible (I might be wrong), I take my prison activism work very seriously. So, do I go casual like most presenters? Or maybe a comfortable suit with no-tie kinda look?  The polls are open and I’m hoping that all three readers of this blog will email me.  

Today would have been my mother Muriel Grant’s 79th birthday.  She was a beautiful woman who lived life on her own terms – we miss you mom. 

Day Four: Greenwich/Nantucket, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013:   

Wheels Up today at 4 pm!  Last year was not only my first time at TNP – it was also my first time on Nantucket.  As a 2012TNPFellow, I drove from Greenwich & then took the ferry from Hyannis.  I really had no idea how intrepid and dedicated you have to be get to and from this island – it was an important perspective I gained from my experience last year.  Important perspective or not, we are extremely grateful for the flight this year! 

Soliciting comments.  I just finished a draft of the Intro for my Presentation tomorrow.  I’ve got 10 mins total, so basically it’s: Intro – 2 mins, Story – 6 mins, Wrap up – 2 mins, Relax – 2 days.  Any friends who would like to contribute comments, please email/text me today and I will joyfully email you a copy.  I love collaborations!

We’re going to a party! Lynn & I actually got invited to a party tonight in honor of fellow presenter Greg LeMond (the U.S.’s only Tour de France winner).  A “TNP pre-party” feels kind of like it’s the 90’s all over again (or maybe it’s just the start of a typical weekend for you Nantucketers?)  Anyway, a big thanks to My Charity of Choice CEO Hunter Ziesing for hosting the shindig. 

The results are in.  There was an overwhelming response (not kidding) to my clothing dilemma poll in yesterday’s blog post.  And, believe it or not, one wardrobe option was favored by over 75% of the respondents! (Also plenty of responses not appropriate for family viewing hour).  I realize this was all a tad obsessive – thanks to all for your kind assistance.  See you on the Main Stage tomorrow.

More soon…

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Director, Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Greenwich, Connecticut

Assoc. Minister/
Director of Prison Ministries
First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue, 1st Fl.
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604

(203) 339-5887