by Jeanine DeHoney
There are some stories that need to be written. Not because they are honeyed vignettes of our life or the life of someone we know or imagine and fictionalize but because they are powerful. They are stories, articles, screenplays or novels that are powerful. Words that will unnerve people, tear at their emotions and cause them to think differently, and maybe…hopefully change or take steps to change the world.
As a writer I have always wanted to write those types of stories. Often times I attempted and just scratched the surface, not delving deep enough into those moral, societal and global issues as much as I wanted to because the writing was painful or uncomfortable for me or I thought I might reap hostile responses from those readers whose opinions differed from mine.
I admit that I sometimes thought that as long as there were other writers writing with fire and brimstone about the ills of society; stories about racism and sexism and bigotry and poverty (According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being,) and the school to prison pipeline for many minority students and students with disabilities, our healthcare system, the new immigration policy, etc., I could concentrate on other types of writing.
But as I get older and sager and frustrated with what is so reprehensible in our headlines, the voices of those who are broken or marginalized are at full volume in my ear. Their voices remind me that yes, stories that make people smile and laugh and forget about their troubles are valuable and needed but stories that express our struggles, failures and sad truths are essential.
Our voices are important as writers. Our written words are lyrics that can become the song that stays with a person and causes them to hum (protest, boycott, teach tolerance, sign a petition, speak out, etc.) throughout the day. Our written words can also be healing and redemptive.
Although I'm not putting all of my other stories in a lock chest; the nostalgic stories from my childhood, the humorous children’s stories I hope to find a publisher for, the essays on motherhood or wifehood that I hope will give someone a bellyaching laugh along with inspiration; I am resolute in my decision to write words that are more powerful and hones in on what is erroneous in our society, especially right now.
I want to make my dent in this world in the hopes of changing it and although I know in so many ways you and I do that already as writers, parents, teachers, etc. I ask you to join me with a more urgent conviction than you may have and write the powerful, be it one powerful chapter in your novel, one powerful sentence in your essay, or 140 powerful characters to a friend.
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Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul, Here in the Middle, and Theories of HER-an experimental anthology and will have an essay upcoming in an anthology about sisters. Ms. DeHoney is also a contributing writer to Dream Teen Magazine.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
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a: Friday Speak Out!: Writing The Powerful
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