Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, Monday!

For those of you who live in Los Angeles, this is the week that starts the WordPlay! class series. Every month, on the second Thursday, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm we will get together for the joy of writing in Leimert Village at Adassa's Island Cafe.

For those of you who either read the book Push by Sapphire or saw the movie Precious that was made of this compelling story, like the teacher portrayed by Paula Patton, I believe in every class participant's ability to tell an important story.

One of my favorite books is Grand Central Winter by Lee Stringer. A homeless addict living in the bowels of New York City's Grand Central Station, he discovered the joy of writing when he realized that part of his drug paraphernalia was actually a pencil stub.

What both these writers have in common is that neither imagined that they would become published authors. However, their stories were so compelling that a publisher realized that readers would benefit from the chance to absorb their work.

Among the many reasons I respect Oprah Winfrey is her creation of the book club. Because of it, loyal viewers who had not touched a book in decades started reading again. From weighty classical tomes like Anna Karenina to Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth to Pulitzer Laureate Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Beloved, Oprah has nurtured a rediscovered love of storytelling that began with young children listening to stories at bedtime.

One of my favorite quotations from Audre Lorde states, "what are the silences that we swallow day by day? If we wait to speak until we are not afraid, we will be sending messages back from the grave."

Rediscover your stories. Have the courage to tell them boldly. Take the risk, like Precious and Lee, to learn the skills that will allow you to engage readers with your words. Have fun with the process of creation and experience the delight of telling a good story. Come to WordPlay!

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