Can a story change the world? Yes. Here’s how…
(Plus! Here’s your chance to get a free copy of The Way Between!)
Folktales. Fairy tales. Old wives’ tales. Your support of the Community Publishing Campaign has gotten my creative juices flowing. I’ve been writing the Stories of the Third Brother in my morning writing sessions. These are the folktales of Ari Ara’s world in The Way Between. They are powerful stories – so powerful that the warmongers suppressed them for hundreds of years.
The Stories of the Third Brother are a set of tales about Alaren, the younger brother of two argumentative and warring founders of the embattled countries. His brothers, Marin and Shirar, are constantly “disturbing the peace” and Alaren is forever trying to work for peace and justice using nonviolent action, negotiation, cleverness, noncooperation, peacebuilding and so much more. Researching for these stories brought me back to real life stories of people who have done this – the Women of Liberia’s Mass Action for Peace, the Christmas Day Ceasefire, the peacebuilding efforts at the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding in Gainesville, FL, and the Afghan Peace Volunteers are just some of the many examples that are offering me inspiration.
Since the Stories of the Third Brother are folktales, I am also reading folktales from around the world. This has been an eye-opening experience. You probably have heard about the #metoo campaign, in which women are speaking up about sexual abuse and assault, and, more generally about misogyny and patriarchy. As I’ve been reading old European folktales and fairy tales, I’ve been stunned by how frighteningly misogynistic and violent these stories are, involving frequent femicides of step-sisters, step-daughters, step-mothers, young girls, old women, and also portrayals of old women as evil witches.
This is not a mistake. Many of these stories were written down, told, or adapted after the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’ witch hunts, persecution of women, and overall subjugation of women in an increasingly patriarchal society. They reinforce the era’s views on “good” and “evil” women. Good women are rewarded by marrying (often into money or royalty) and evil women die horrible deaths. The murder of women happens casually and frequently.
Why does this matter in 2017?
Because the echoes of these stories are still running around causing harm to women and men. Just as Ari Ara’s world in The Way Between is caught up in one horrific war after another because, long ago, all the stories of peace and nonviolence were banned; so too is our world repeating and reliving old stories of violence, injustice, and oppression.
We need new stories. That’s what I’m committed to. From The Dandelion Insurrection to The Roots of Resistance to The Way Between, every story I write draws inspiration from real life stories of the emerging epic of nonviolent action. I write fictional novels and stories that inspire us to embody these kinds of heroes and sheroes. Our world is in the painful, awkward, scary, exhilarating process of evolving. We need to let go of old stories and tell tales that offer us role models for what’s coming and how we’re going to get there.
That’s what my work as a writer is all about. Actually, that’s what our work together in the Community Publishing Campaign is all about.
You + Me = We make these stories possible.
Okay … here’s how to get a free book! On Monday (November 20th) night, we’re going to put all the names of all the supporters of the Community Publishing Campaign into a hat (probably my notorious striped cap) and draw names to win a free copy of the limited Author’s Edition of The Way Between. I have nearly 20 copies to give away, so you stand a great chance of getting one! Here is where to support the Community Publishing Campaign: https://www.
Here’s to the courageous work of changing the world stories!