One week ago, Jackie and I had the privilege and honor of attending a writing workshop hosted by the Voices and Faces project. We joined a dozen other men and women who are survivors and who want to use creative writing to tell their stories. The vision of the Voices and Faces project is that if survivors continue to tell their stories, that the general public will be moved to change, and that change will put an end to gender-based violence.
Attending this workshop gave me so many gifts. First, I have formed a new network of people I feel deeply connected to. Second, I discovered what type of writer I am, and what kind of writer I want to be. The workshop helped us explore many different forms of writing. We were given assignments with a lot of room to investigate ourselves, our styles and our voices. I was so inspired by what was shared by the other participants and I was amazed a what came out of me. Third, this workshop opened my eyes to how political I am. I have defined political far too narrowly. I’m not really interested in marching on Washington, lobbying congress or running for city council. But, I desperately want the world to change. I am ready to join with others to change the rape culture that exists in society today.
By attending this workshop, I also got to spend a lot of time with Jackie. We have known each other for a couple of years now, but we only met face-to-face last summer. before I met Jackie, I shared my story of survival with a friend, who later told me about a song she found that was written by an acquaintance of hers, Christopher Grundy, about a woman named Jackie who was a survivor. After listening to the song, I saw that Jackie wrote a blog, so I started to read Jackie’s blog from time to time. I connected so deeply with the things Jackie wrote about that I started to comment on her posts. Jackie invited me to be a guest writer on her page. I was really unsure. I knew I wanted to write and that I had things to say, but I had never been public about my story.
So, I started to write anonymously on Jackie’s blog. I stuck my toe in the water. It wasn’t long before I wanted to swim. Jackie is a great writing partner, a wise and centered woman and she works tirelessly to bring about healing and hope for survivors. I am proud to have now joined her in that endeavor. And, although I’m glad that I eventually went public with my story, I completely understand why others need to remain anonymous.
I know that you will be seeing and hearing more from both of us in the near future as a result of the workshop. I am already working on a satire piece. Please consider adding your story(ies) of hope and healing to Learninghope.org. You have a story that no one else can tell and yet we all share.