'One Book, One Philadelphia' ends with spoken word performance

The whole point of "One Book, One Philadelphia" is for the readers to come together and share how the book touched them.

Lisa Nelson-Haynes is well-known in the arts community in Philadelphia, first at the Painted Bride and now at Philadelphia Young Playwrights, a non-profit that brings the power of stagecraft into area schools.

She's also a friend from back in the day.

We were once in...wait for it...a book club together!

So I wasn't surprised when the Free Library tapped her to be part of the finale, a night of poetry, storytelling and music.

Lisa told me that what stayed with her from the book "Sing, Unburied, Sing," by Jesmyn Ward was the need to be present.

It's in being present that the characters in the book are ready to receive the ghost of Given, who gives them his love and his strength, saving them even from beyond the grave.

"Do you feel like you're present in your moment," says Lisa, telling me what she'd put on the table for everyone. "You have to be present to see these things around you."

For the finale Lisa shared a meditation on that question, doing a special piece on her grandfather, who came to her twice from beyond the veil, giving her his blessing and guidance in two very special moments.

I am honored she shared it with me and to get to share it with you.

It's just three minutes, but it will stay with you long after. As we wrap up this series, I can't think of a better question than hers: Are you present?

To see my special series on "One Book, One Philadelphia" click here.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.