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$1,360
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
25
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jul 21 2013
Last updated July 21, 2013

Bonnet Strings: A Memoir (Canceled)

A memoir about adjusting to mainstream American culture after leaving the Amish and feeling torn between the two worlds.

Bonnet Strings: A Memoir (Canceled)

A memoir about adjusting to mainstream American culture after leaving the Amish and feeling torn between the two worlds.

$1,360
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
25
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jul 21 2013
Last updated July 21, 2013

About

My name is Saloma Miller Furlong and I’m here to ask for your support. I want to publish the continuation of my story about leaving the Amish and my subsequent struggle to find my way in the outside world that I started in my first book, Why I Left the Amish. I will also share the parallel story of Anna, a young woman who entered my life a year ago when she left her Amish community.

The name of this second book is called Bonnet Strings. It’s a personal story, not an exploration of Amish culture. But in the telling, I reveal many misconceptions and myths, especially those created by the current reality television shows and bonnet fiction. I would really like to have my book launch at a time that coincides with the January 2014 release of a major PBS documentary that I will be featured in. This is a follow-up film of the PBS documentary “The Amish” that aired on American Experience in 2012 in which I told part of my story.

In this shifting publishing market, it is a challenge to get a book published -- and even more so to get it published in a six-month time frame. But I've overcome obstacles before -- I've left the Amish, I married a forbidden love, and I went from an eighth grade education to Smith College. I can do this, too.

This is why I need your help. Your contributions will ensure that the book will be professionally edited, designed, publicized, and distributed.

If you haven’t already decided that you want to contribute to this project, let me tell you just a few details.

I first left my community when I was twenty years old, and I landed at the YWCA in Burlington, Vermont. I reveled in my newfound freedom, established a social life, and began dating. I met a Yankee toymaker and peddler, David, who was eager to learn everything he could about the Amish, and he was willing to help me sort out the complexities of my new world.

All this came to an abrupt end when a vanload of Amish, including the bishop, showed up at the front door of the Y to escort me back to my community.

Just as I was writing about this part of my life, a stranger came to town. She had just left her Swartzentruber community, one of the most conservative affiliations of the Amish. Anna needed support to transition into the mainstream culture, so my husband and I invited her to come live with us. She started a business baking and making baskets and selling her wares out of our house. She seemed to be thriving in many ways, but it was obvious that the pull back to her community was a powerful one. 

Witnessing her struggle brought up vivid memories of that time in my life when I was still trying to find my place in one of two worlds. Reflecting this struggle, Bonnet Strings transitions between my recent life of supporting Anna and my life in my early twenties. This past January, Anna succumbed to the emotional forces that were drawing her back by choosing to return to her community.

My return happened more than thirty years ago, which lends perspective to my story. After leaving the community a second time, I married the love of my life, the Yankee toymaker and peddler, David, who had persisted in pursuing our relationship against all odds. We raised two sons, Paul and Tim, who are now grown and on their own. And I graduated from Smith College in 2007. 

I don’t have this perspective on the outcome of Anna’s story. For now she has sacrificed her freedom for community life. No one knows whether she will stay in her community or leave again. I believe Anna’s and my stories offer hope to those who have left the Amish and are going through the rough transition of leaving the only community they knew. I also hope to offer the general public an authentic rendition of what it means to be torn between the Amish and “the world.” 

If you agree that this is an important story to tell, then I hope you will contribute to this project. In exchange, I offer you my gifts and my eternal gratitude for your generosity. I hope your kindness will return to you many times over. Thank you in advance for your support of this project.

To see the PBS film "The Amish" that I was featured in, you can click on:                        

Photo by Tim Cragg
Photo by Tim Cragg

It's free to watch the whole film online. Enjoy! (Most of my part is in chapter 6). It is such an authentic and well-made film, that you may want to own a DVD copy of it

You can read the introduction to Bonnet Strings by visiting my blog

For more about Why I Left the Amish, you can also visit my website.

Risks and challenges

I have faced many obstacles in my life, but I am persistent and tenacious and that is how I've managed to come to the place where I am today. I can imagine there are challenges to completing this project, but I am determined to move these obstacles out of the path of this book, for I know there are many of you out there who've read my first book and are eagerly awaiting my second one. There are others who have never heard of my first book, and still others who have left the Amish who can benefit from reading "Bonnet Strings." With determination, persistence, and grit, I hope to have this book launched by early 2014. Thank you again for your support of this project!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    A handcrafted wooden bookmark signed by me and a personalized thank you card in the mail.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    A handcrafted wooden bookmark signed by me, a personalized thank you card in the mail, and a public thank you on my blog and website.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    A PDF final copy of "Bonnet Strings" delivered via email BEFORE it launches and a public thank you on my blog and website.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    An autographed copy of my first book, "Why I Left the Amish," A PDF final copy of "Bonnet Strings" delivered via email BEFORE it launches, a public thank you on my blog and website, and a personalized thank you card in the mail with a wooden bookmark signed by me.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    An acknowledgement of your generous support in "Bonnet Strings," an autographed copy of "Why I Left the Amish" and "Bonnet Strings," a canvas tote bag with an image of "Bonnet Strings," a handcrafted wooden bookmark signed by me, a personalized thank you card in the mail, and a public thank you on my blog and website.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    An hour-long Skype call to your reading discussion or library group, acknowledgement for your generous support in "Bonnet Strings," an e-copy of "Bonnet Strings," a handcrafted wooden bookmark signed by me, a personalized thank you note in the mail, and a public thank you on my blog and website.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Three copies of "Why I Left the Amish" and seven copies of "Bonnet Strings" sent to your local library, two hour-long Skype calls to your reading discussion or library group, an autographed copy of "Bonnet Strings," an autographed copy of "Why I Left the Amish," acknowledgement for your generous support in "Bonnet Strings," a canvas tote bag with an image of "Bonnet Strings," a handcrafted wooden bookmark signed by me, a personalized thank you note in the mail, and a public thank you on my blog and website.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    A free talk in person at the institution of your choice (the institution needs to pay transportation costs and I will pay the rest of travel costs within the continental U.S. The institution needs to pay all travel costs outside the U.S.) You will also receive an e-copy of "Bonnet Strings," an acknowledgement in "Bonnet Strings", a personalized thank you note in the mail, and a public thank you on my blog and website.

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Funding period

- (30 days)