Faces of SAL: Liz Keenan
September 2, 2020
We are so fortunate to have a team of volunteers that give their time and skills to SAL. Liz Keenan is one such volunteer, and she has helped out in the SAL office for the past year; and, when we had to close the office due to COVID-19 and work from home, Liz was ready to help with projects remotely!
Read on to learn a bit about Liz’s roots, what she’s been reading lately, and what’s been anchoring to her during these times.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I like to consider myself a citizen of the world: born in Scotland, lived in London until my family—who is native Irish—returned to Dublin, Ireland. Shortly after, I married and my husband, and I moved to the United States. We lived in New York for a while and later put roots down in Seattle, where we have lived for the past 25 years. During that time, I worked as a social worker, raised three beautiful children, and three lovable English Labradors. Seattle reminds me of Ireland with the lush greenery and beautiful nature and hiking trails. It is home away from home.
What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. Reading fiction is my strong passion but sometimes I come across a non-fiction book that is hard to put down. This story is a chilling true crime/murder mystery set in the Wild West concerning the brutal murders of members of the Osage Indian Nation and how the killer was brought to justice. It is truly amazing.
I am also reading The Cave by Jose Saramago, a story about a family struggling to keep up with the ruthless pace of progress. I love this book because of my life-long passion for handmade arts and crafts. The protagonist is an elderly potter who makes beautiful pots and jugs until people prefer plastic. My mother taught me how to knit when I was a child and I have knit and designed knitwear for as long as I can remember. “Indeed, very few people are aware,” Jose Saramago writes in The Cave, “that in each of our fingers, located somewhere between the first phalange, the mesophalange and the metaphalange, there is a tiny brain.”
What SAL event are you most looking forward to?
Irish author Tana French, whose book I devoured, wrote In the Woods, about a pair of Irish detectives and their investigation into the murder of a twelve year-old girl. Gripping, edge of your seat, and contemporary crime writing at its best.
I think Canadian author, Margaret Atwood, is one of the best writers of our times. I have read many of her books and loved them all—Cat’s Eye, The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testament, and the wonderful Year of the Flood. I think she is such a good writer and a great thinker who creates new ideas that cause me to pause and think about the bigger picture.
What has inspired you lately?
The past year has been so hard for everybody and devastating to the families who have lost loves ones due to COVID-19, the protests, unemployment, remote learning for children and university students, politics, isolation, loneliness, sickness, poverty, and the list goes on and on.
I am inspired by the protesters fighting for Black Lives Matter, their courage and tenacity for change in our social justice system inspires me every day.
I am inspired by the stories of hope, resilience, and inspiration from people all over the world through volunteerism and helping their communities. Volunteering for SAL has helped me to cope better and stay connected with the wonderful people who work there and bring so much to the Seattle community.
Thank you, Liz, for all you’ve done to help SAL!