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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2007
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Marianne Gatlin, at right, who goes by Gatlianne, makes meal and hygiene packs for the homeless with friend Crystal Kiss at Sherwood Park in Huntsville.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Marianne Gatlin, at right, who goes by Gatlianne, makes meal and hygiene packs for the homeless with friend Crystal Kiss at Sherwood Park in Huntsville.

Gatlianne, the giver
29-year-old woman is on a crusade to save the world, one project at a time; proceeds from her new poetry book will help a group fighting poverty

By Danielle Komis Palmer
dpalmer@decaturdaily.com · 340-2447

Last week, 29-year-old Marianne Gatlin dropped off coats and blankets to a homeless shelter, assembled food and hygiene packs for local homeless shelters, and taught free yoga classes in Sherwood Park in Huntsville.

Earlier this month, the Athens native and eight friends went to a tattoo parlor to get “inked pink” with pink breast cancer awareness tattoos to raise money for an acquaintance with breast cancer. A few years ago, Gatlin raised $1,200 for the American Cancer Society in a charity yard sale she organized.

As Gatlin, who often goes by “Gatlianne” — a combination of her first and last names — recounts her recent charity efforts, she begins to laugh.

“I sound like Ms. Mary Peacemaker when I start saying it all out loud,” she said.

But outside of her job in Priceville as an office manager, Gatlianne’s life largely revolves around volunteering and trying to improve the world. As part of that effort, Gatlianne recently released a book of her poems and essays entitled “Freedom is A Feather: Words for Change.”

“It’s not an overly long book,” she said. “It’s a book you can sit down and read and feel better about your life ... there were a lot of people who wanted this book, who needed it.”

Marianne Gatlin, who goes by Gatlianne, recently wrote a book of poetry inspired by her volunteer work.
Courtesy photo
Marianne Gatlin, who goes by Gatlianne, recently wrote a book of poetry inspired by her volunteer work.
In one poem called “What Would You do?” she writes: “What would you attempt to do/If you knew you could not fail?/Would you reach for a higher goal/No matter what it would entail?”

Six months ago, Gatlianne began putting the book together. Much of it was based on advice she had given to friends and family that she felt compelled to write down. After all, this young go-getter doesn’t remember a time when she was not writing. She once wrote for an online magazine, but the constant deadlines killed her creative process, she said.

“Freedom” is the second book she has written and it won’t be her last. She wrote a sort of “personal catharsis” last year that was “more for me than for the world,” and plans to release three poetry books, a Southern cookbook, a fantasy novel and a “pseudo-memoir” in the next two years. She also has two children’s books in the works and recently found an artist to illustrate them.

Gatlianne self-published “Freedom” through Lulu publishing company, which allows the author to publish and sell their books on demand. Her friend, an art student at Savannah College of Art and Design, shot the cover of the book using Gatlianne’s hands, feathers and a fan.

The royalties made off “Freedom” will go to CARE, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization with a mission to fight global poverty.

Not many people necessarily know about her new book though, Gatlianne said, because she’s been so focused on her “Make a Difference Day” project of collecting items for homeless shelters.

“I haven’t been doing much book promotion because I’m trying to save the world, I guess,” she said, laughing.

Friends say that giving quality is what they love and admire about their friend.

“She’s very open and ready to get out there and change the world,” said friend Crystal Kiss.

“It cracks me up but that’s what draws me to her. She’s always doing something, whether it’s helping a friend or doing these organized projects.”

Plus, she’s great at rounding up everyone around her to help with her numerous crusades, and is good at sending reminders to everyone about the projects, Kiss said.

It seems Gatlianne is the opposite of so many — rather than an addiction to getting, she has an addiction to giving. And she loves to help others give of themselves, too.

A book of Gatlianne’s poems and essays entitled “Freedom is A Feather: Words for Change.”
A book of Gatlianne’s poems and essays entitled “Freedom is A Feather: Words for Change.”
“A lot of people say ‘I want to do something, but I don’t know what to do,’ ” Gatlianne said. “I’m your girl! Nobody needs idle hands.”

On the Net

n Order a paperback copy or download “Freedom is a Feather: Words for Change,” at www.lulu.com/gatlianne.

n Visit Gatlianne at www.myspace.com/gatlianne

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