Surviving our national challenge of 2017 has taught me something important about writing. Not just any writing—our writing. Our stories. Queer, feminist, black, white, survivor, triumphant, unique and challenging stories. The lessons of our life told through our fiction and poetry and lyrics.
We live in uncertain, volatile times. Everyday brings another assault on our freedoms. And if you’re like me, you feel as if you might go crazy because it seems nobody is listening outside of our families of choice or our liberal, literary communities. The rest of the world I inhabit doesn’t want to hear my warning cries. I feel unheard. Our rights are increasingly endangered and they couldn’t care less.
I know now this is the time for artists to dig deep. Telling our stories feels urgent and necessary now more than ever in times like these. Because story is how we translate the personal into messages that reach others by humanizing our experience. If we tell the story well they will see themselves in the characters, because humanity transcends the boxes of our differences. We are all of the human race. Speaking this truth has never been more important in our lifetimes.
Story is how we learn about each other, but more importantly story teaches us about ourselves. As writers, whether we know it or not, there is often a moral component to our work, an obligation to entertain and educate at the same time. The richness of our authentic characters has the power to teach another soul to relate to someone or a situation very different from their own experience. Even when we think we know the subject, every writer brings a personal perspective to teach us something new. That’s the value of literature.
In our world suffused with the frivolous and frustrating memes, hashtags and videos, the power of written stories is the magic of intimacy and connection we still crave. The power of a story to transport us to another world where we find the inspiration and understanding is something that can never be replaced. We must tell our stories to prevent the steady push against our own humanity and those who would love nothing more than to force us back into subservience. Dehumanize our lives. Minimize our worth. Capitalize on the newly liberated hatred that seems to be running rampant in our world.
My stories are my defiant shout to the heavens. I am here. We will not be bullied or silenced or pushed to the margins again. I thank the universe for my need to write. It’s how I process my emotions and thoughts in an ever confusing time. Whether they are blog posts or novel offerings, I hope to convey my hopes and dreams in a way that might strike a chord with readers, to share our humanity on a journey together.
My wish for 2018 is to write stories that push back against the hate. Push forward with my truth without compromise, with our queer, feminist, badass beauty on full display in such common personal literature that it cannot be ignored. This year, more than ever, I will write from my heart. I can’t wait to see what we all come up with.
Happy New Year!