Most of us know a woman who has been a victim of domestic violence. We may know her from afar. We may know her up close. The thing is, we know. And over the next two weeks, by participating in the DVAM Writing Prompt here at She Writes, we can serve as a witness and celebrate her strength and survival through our words.
Because writing, we know, can heal and transform. Good writing reaches across the void and holds another’s soul. “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine,” writes poet Mary Oliver in one of my all-time favorite poems (“Wild Geese”). As writers, as lovers of language, not all of us are lovers of Twitter. But writing short—with the aim of writing well—can be a fertile exercise. Trim the fat and your reader imbibes what’s core. So if you’re still with me, let’s try it together. Follow the rules below and write—it’s She Writes, after all! The editors over here will choose a range to feature over the next two weeks here on the blog.
Here are rules of the road:
1. In 300 characters or less, narrate a nugget about a woman who survived. She may be your sister, your friend, the woman next door. She may be a character in your novel or a figment of your mind. She may be a woman in an existing work of literature or a song. She may be…you.
2. End with a punch line, if possible. Or at least make certain it’s clear why this woman, her strength or her survival, inspires you.
3. Conclude with the letters IWS—for I Will Survive.
4.Post your entry in comments and/or on your SW blog with the tag IWS, so we can find it.
And please spread the word.
-If you tweet, tweet her name (if, and only if, it’s safe), or the first few words of your entry, the link to this post (http://bit.ly/96nHyn), and the hashtags #IWS, #VAW. Here's one ready to go: SW Domestic Violence Awareness Month Writing Prompt: "I Will Survive."Be witness. Honor survival. Pls share: http://bit.ly/96nHyn #IWS, #VAW
-If you FB, post the following:
Do you know a survivor of domestic violence? Participate in the She Writes Domestic Violence Awareness Month Writing Prompt: I Will Survive. Be her witness. Honor her strength. And pass it on. http://bit.ly/96nHyn
Ok now, some samples, to get us going:
The first below is from me, true story; the second, from a writer you know.
When I was fifteen I babysat for the family next door. He was abusive. One day, he pushed her down the stairs. She broke her arm. She left, her cast the only remnant of the hardness of his soul. IWS.
Janie did what she had never done before, that is, thrust herself into the conversation…. “It’s so easy to make yo’self out God Almighty when you ain’t got nothin’ tuh strain against but women and chickens.” (Zora Neal Hurston) IWS.
Your turn. Let’s hear you, She Writers. Send a roar of support, sisterhood, and good ole fashioned solidarity out into the world this month. Let her know you're aware, you honor her, you care.
See also: The Survivor Chronicles group
(The image above is a poster for sale from the National Coalition against Domestic Violence)