9th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference

I’m at the 9th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference: Writing to Make a Difference For Fiction, Nonfiction and Children’s Book Writers at the Unitarian Universalist Center, 1187 Franklin at Geary. 

I stayed at my son and his wife’s place in the Mission so I could make the 6:00-7:30 SUNRISE PITCHATHON no-host breakfast a block away. Co-director Mike Larsen moderated the event. 

My alarm didn’t go off so I woke late. But with rideshare services – rather than walking the half hour, I thought no problem. But Lyft’s app couldn’t process my payment, repeatedly. Uber balked too. A driver accepted then cancelled. Finally 15 minutes later, after repeatedly closing and reopening both apps. Finally I got one. So late, but got there.

I was out of position and hadn’t prepared pitches for my major projects. But, listening to others pitches and feedback they got, was useful and inspirational for me to work on and improve mine. 

We walked the hill and talked as we waited for the facility to open.

We’ve heard Mike Larsen’s welcome, and the consultants introduced themselves. 

Nina Amir presented 10 Steps to Becoming a Change Agent. At the last one of these, Nina’s talk and a followup consult, provided me with a glimpse of what kind of web presence could be used by someone like me with a number of projects rather than just one. I’ve been slow to implement it, but now it is a work in progress. This post is an example.

The agenda is online, so I won’t recap it.

Panelists discussed: Writing for Better Tomorrows

Kirk Boyd was heading to Geneva to work on a draft global bill of rights encouraged us to look at:

I checked the time, and made my 8-minute consult  I’d scheduled with Nina Amir. We touched base and I reminded her of our prior consult. We kept it short, she listened then again urged me to look at the diverse topics and come up with the themes, that roll up to the brand – so you have a tag-line so people know who you are and what you are about. 

At the rest of the break, I spoke with Dan  Linehan and Mary Rakow. I’d heard Dan read at an open mic night in Livermore. Mary spoke of Dan’s fiction regarding climate change.

After the break, Mike Larsen introduced Taryn Edwards from their new partner, The Mechanics’ Institute.  They are a leading cultural center that includes a vibrant library, a world-renowned chess program and a full calendar of engaging cultural events.

Panelists discussed publshing : traditional, hybrid, or DIY

 Based on the discussion tips, I took a look and opened an account at Ingram Spark, particularly for print. Smashwords for e-books still offers broad electronic distribution.

During lunch break, I bought books on book proposals by Mike Larsen and Andy Ross. Kathy called because she saw the Square payment with name she didn’t recognize. We discussed timing for this evening, we’re going to the Bankhead Theatre, for their 11th Season Opening Gala, featuring The Indigo Girls and much more.

We agreed I better leave about 1:30, after the keynote speaker Stephen Dinan.

Stephen Dinan, of The Shift Network, and author of Sacred America, m World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All. I got a copy for Kindle.

Stephen wrapped up with Q&A.

So my time here today has wound down. For me it’s been a jump start and encouragement to get going on my two major writing projects: the Belize “true novel” and Draft Resistance memoir. Meanwhile, I’ve gotten my travel piece on Scotland and Ireland to our CWC TVW critique group  and done my critiques of pieces by others.

On the way home via Lyft, then BART.

Early Bird tickets (save $10) end August 31 for Walk (or bike) the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito – ferry back to San Francisco Ferry Building fundraising event

Please take a look and consider supporting and sharing this. 

September 30th, walk (or bike) the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito – ferry back to San Francisco Ferry Building fundraising event

Early Bird tickets (save $10) are available through through August 31. After that, please register by September 27. 

The El Lllanito, Nicaragua water supply project team is putting this fundraiding event on for the Engineers without Borders San Francisco Professional chapter (EWB-SFP). 

In August the Rotary Global Grant 1638377 Nicaragua – water supply project was approved. 

The El Lllanito, Nicaragua water supply project EWB team is doing the engineering for the water supply system and is applying for a $6000 grant for the project from the chapter. The requirements to obtain the grant include chapter-wide fundraisers like this one.

The September 30th, walk (or bike) the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito – ferry back to San Francisco Ferry Building is modeled after very popular walks that the Livermore Rotary club has done. I’ve participated in several of them and this should be fun.

Fundraising for Engineers Without Borders San Francisco Professional chapter

Our El Llanito Nicaragua water supply project team is working on our annual Engineers Without Borders – San Francisco Professional chapter annual fundraising gala, SFari 2017, at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco on Thursday, October 19th beginning at 7PM.

Our project team is also applying for a $6k grant for the water project from our chapter. The requirements we need to fulfill to obtain the grant include two chapter-wide fundraisers. We are launching these and would appreciate your support. Please consider donating or registering to participate in our September 30th, walk (or bike) the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito – ferry back to San Francisco Ferry Building. Ticket includes sandwich lunch with soft drink and ferry ticket.

Please share these with your network. For direct links to our online fundraisers see:

For the walk/bike across the Golden Gate Bridge take ferry back, see:

Engineers Without Borders is a nonprofit that focuses on sustainable engineering solutions to solve problems in developing countries. Our chapter ( specifically has seven project teams. This event goes to supporting all of our projects in these communities and we focus on the needs that were proposed to us which could be sanitation, healthcare, water access or a variety of other issues that developing world communities face.

presented on Rotary Global Grants In Action: Update, Composting Latrines Project, Nicaragua

I presented at our Rotary Club of Livermore on 7/26/17 on Rotary Global Grants In Action: Update, Composting Latrines Project, Nicaragua. I’m scheduled to present a similar talk to the Rotary Club of the Livermore Valley on 8/15/17.

In addition, we showed selected parts of this video of Daniel, removing compost from his composting latrine. He’s been using his since the 2010 deployment. He and his wife have participated in the community workshops for the 2014 and current projects, sharing their experience and answering questions.

Public Lab/citizen science

I’ve been involved with Public Lab (and Grassroots Mapping) since 2010, when I wrote to Jeff Warren after seeing the diydrones post showing his map of a settlement outside Lima, Peru. 

Public Lab is doing a Kickstarter campaign for aerial photomapping kits, from small lifting kites and balloons to the classic larger ones.

Jeff, Stewart Long, Mathew Lippincott, and others in the Public Lab community helped me learn simple aerial photo mapping techniques. 

They also helped me start a grassroots mapping program to map the 40-acre Belize Open Source – Sustainable Development (BOSSD) site at high resolution to support site development work and progress reporting, to make this methodology accessible to local landholders, to engage schools to develop capabilities for educational and community mapping and make an initial set of maps.

I’ve presented at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) workshops and poster sessions on Simple, Inexpensive Aerial Photomapping

In 2013, I applied these techniques at the BOSSD site and sessions at the August Pine Ridge RC school and Muffles College.

I’ve not been as active with Public Lab due to other priorities, but I am looking to get back to it.

CWC TVW Critique groups run year round

At our last meeting of the California Writers Club Tri-Valley Writers Branch this season, President, Patricia Boyle, asked me to speak about our STEM critique group.

I was happy to. As my members page indicates, in part:

Patrick D. Coyle journals and writes memoir and personal stories about travel and sustainable development. His short memoirTime of Your Life, won first place in Impressions, the Las Positas College 2015 anthology.

Other memoirs have been published in the Voices of the Valley: Word For Word, Encore, and First Press, California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch anthologies (2015, 2013, and 2011); 4th Street Studio’s Livermore Wine Country Literary Harvest and Saturday Salon Literary Harvest anthologies.

I’ve been involved in critique since I joined the Tri-Valley Writers Branch in 2005 as a charter member. My good friend and mentor, Hector Timourian, led this group until he he handed it off. I picked up the responsibility to “clerk for us,” getting the announcement out to people about when the monthly meetings are coming up, letting people know who has submitted pieces, and showing up to facilitate the critique session discussion.

I’ve benefited from the feedback from others, reading the diversity of others pieces, and offering comments about what I liked, what gave me pause, and suggestions.

The monthly critique sessions also encourages me to write, to get a piece ready to submit for critique. I don’t like to be empty handed.

I joke with others that my only hope is that writing is a learnable craft.

We continue the STEM critique group through the summer.

I encourage you to write, to check out our CWC TVW branch, and to consider the critique groups as a way to improve your writing.

Surprise at Rotary meeting

Today was Don Wentz’s last meeting as president of our Rotary Club of Livermore. The night before was my last board meeting as president of the Rotarian Foundation of Livermore.

At today’s meeting I was taking photographs for our club newsletter. Don recognized and thanked many of our members. I was surprised and delighted when he recognized me as Rotarian of the Year for 2016-2017.

As a club board member, I saw the nominations and someone wrote the following (in words way too kind I thought). I voted for another candidate.

Patrick Coyle exemplifies the ideals of the Rotary Four-Way Test, exhibits a true spirit of volunteerism, and demonstrates community leadership through: (a) his leadership to the club in general; (b) his multiple volunteer-service contributions to our club’s local and regional community; and (c) his service contributions to the greater international community. Patrick has demonstrated substantial leadership through the coordination of District 5170 Area 4 Global Grant activities in Nicaragua with the San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua Rotary Club and Masaya Rotary Club, where Global Grants support local community involvement in the building of composting toilets and the development of water supply systems. In addition, Patrick is actively involved with the Coaniquem Burned Children Foundation in Chile. Patrick’s volunteerism and other contributions significantly support Rotary’s six areas of focus.

I am honored to be recognized and hope to fulfill the intent of the nominating text. My experience with Rotary reminds me there is no end of opportunities for service.


Last day at Belize Open Source site

Yesterday, first thing, I drove into Orange Walk Town to pick up my reconciled tax statement before Armin Cansino left for Belize City.

At 10:00, I met with Natalio Solis and Pedro Wall who is refurbishing our corrals and adding a chute to vaccinate or load cattle. I watched his crew as they worked.

We also discussed improving the little 12′ by 20′ wooden house that I put in as part of the first visitors accommodations for the Cleveland State University EWB chapter when they did the new classroom building for the school in August Pine Ridge.

I also need to add more facility improvements, so there is more “there” here. We talked about a new house, but in context of overall plan. Pedro cautioned about spending too much on improving the existing house vs a new one.

But good news, the hot water showers were working. They weren’t in December when I was here.

I walked the place, taking gps waypoints (WPs) and laying down a track.

I looked at cashews on trees, the first I’ve seen on our old ones planted in the 1970s and the new improved varieties in the orchard in the front.

Watched our caretaker add molasses-water mix to hay we’re using to get the cattle through the dry.

David Dyck, Natalio, and I made a workplan to sell the herd after we fix the corrals, add fencing for more parcels, clear and plant more land, fertilize, and restock when pastures are reestablished.
Today, I was able to meet with Osmany Salas who is always bristling with good ideas. Such a great citizen of Belize – always looking for ways to make things better. Lots to follow up on.

I also met Albert Burn, who knew my dad from back in the 1970s at Carver Ranch. He also knew the rest of the cast of characters too, from Jack Garden to Carlos Carmona, to Chester Cotter. He didn’t go into details but described the trouble Carmona made for my dad and the ranch.

Got my flight home upgraded to first class!

I’m in Houston, waiting to board flight to San Francisco.