I am a feminist storyteller and a seeker of Equality, which means my mission is telling stories that change public discourse.
I’ve written before about the books that shaped me, as a writer and a feminist. One I always come back to is Simone de Beauvoir’s novel, All Men Are Mortal. An actress falls for an immortal man, hoping he will make her memory immortal. A story, a history, a love affair. By the end of the book, the stories she hears from her Historian Lover, make her join the struggle for Justice and she becomes heroic. Second Sex, a seminal text on women’s inequality, is packed with truths that most of us are painfully aware of already was still explosive. But for me, it is De Beauvoir’s fiction that shaped my perspective.
The immense power of stories to shape public opinion has been made obvious as of late by the attacks on our speech and our right to speak our truths—think book banning and “Don’t Say Gay” bills.
Anne Frank’s diary rocked my boat and my mind. She has an ultimate belief that people are really good at heart. After six years of dripping ugliness coming off Trump and his Flying Monkeys, I am less sure than she is. But her story moved thousands of people. She had hope. Is it any surprise those who wish to deny the Holocaust, and avoid conversations about the ways hate and fascism can destroy nations, want to make it verboten?
My novel, The Road Not Taken, gives a 50-year-old widow who has bumbled through life doing what is expected of her the chance to see new galaxies, to meet immortal mythological characters, and ultimately to define her opinion of the human race. I would call her (and I call myself) a Material Witness to life. Her voice gets heard and we all admire what she learns and how she changes through this story.
We cannot let our stories be erased. We cannot let our voices be silenced. In moments like these, we all need to become material witnesses. And we need to say, louder than ever, what we’ve seen—and what we envision for the future.
Happy Women’s Equality Day, everybody.