Good Read! "Comic book artists and survivors address gun violence" by Chauncey K. Robinson (from People's World)

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he anthology contains over 70 stories from over 150 different creators who collaborated with Las Vegas locals to come up with both fictional and eye-witness accounts. One hundred percent of the proceeds for the “Where We Live” anthology will be donated to the nonprofit organization Route91Strong, which seeks to help “survivors with support through financial assistance hope, strength, change, and love.”

One of the contributors, best-selling author Neil Gaiman, remarked about the project, “It’s a strange place, this time and this country, in which having tools that can only be used to murder is seen as human right… It’s about wounds and healing, about death and forgiveness, about pain and childhood and the dark. I hope it helps make people think, and I’m honored to be part of the conversation....."

Read the full article here on People's World

Buy the anthology Where We Live here from ImageComics

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Great Read! "Why Do We Turn to Stories in the Midst of a Disaster?" By Madeleine Wattenbarger (From LitHub)

 

Why Do We Turn to Stories
in the Midst of a Disaster?

ON NARRATIVE AND TRAUMA IN MEXICO CITY

"“In this version of the story, a disaster has a beginning, middle, and end, a narrative arc.”

Storytelling requires a listener, and post-disaster storytelling tends to take place in the context of communities, as Rebecca Solnit examines in her book A Paradise Built in Hell. “A major loss usually isolates us from the community, where no one else has suffered thus, and we are alone in being bereft of beloved or home or security or health,” she writes. “When the loss is general, one is not cast out by suffering but finds fellowship in it.” To an extent, communities are always held together by shared narratives—the Scriptures that undergird a religious community, or the histories that fraternity pledges commit to memory, or the origin stories that shape a nation. But Solnit argues that the shared experience of a disaster tends to create a new, momentary utopian community out of its victims. “[Disaster] drags us into emergencies that require we act, and act altruistically, bravely, and with initiative in order to survive or save the neighbors,” she writes. The suspension of everyday routine brings, if only briefly, a new social order...."

Read the full article from LitHub here

Explore More--Articles & Great FIction--on LitHub here

 

 

 

Good Read! "Visualizing the invisible: Arab women artists reveal untold stories" by Aisha Doherty (from Middle East Eye)

Arab women artists talk to MEE about breaking stereotypes, pushing boundaries and succeeding where politicians have failed

"I make autobiographical works about my identity and childhood, but I am rarely featured in it. I am always the observer rather than the one being observed," ElKalaawy said. 

ElKalaawy says that the West only shows interest in the Middle East, including Egypt, her country of origin, in times of unrest, rather than for its art and cultural scene.

I noticed my homeland and the Middle East in general do not really matter to the world other than at times of crisis 

- Nada ElKalaawy, artist

“When I relocated to the West, I noticed my homeland and the Middle East in general do not really matter to the world other than at times of crisis,” ElKalaawy said. “I feel responsible for showing the Western world what the place I come from looks like and to share the Egypt I know with others."

Read This Artist's Story and More Here

Art in the Age of Understanding by Joel Worford

Art shifts with culture while culture shifts with art—making it difficult for us to determine which one needs to change first when we decide something needs to change.

The popular idea that the artistic community holds the progressive mentalities while everybody else lags behind is largely a misconception.

Consider this: the lead single from Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic contains the clearly misogynistic line “bad bitches and their ugly ass friends,” among others, yet that didn’t stop the song from winning Record of the Year or from selling over one million units in less than 12 months. Some would argue that the success of Mars’ music, along with the success of a number of popular Hip-Hop, Country, RnB and Rock artists who play large stadiums and sell millions of records every year, regardless of the antiquated stance their music may take towards women, or the problematic ways they may represent race and/or sexuality comes down to the difference between popular music circles and underground music circles. This idea falls apart, however, when one considers that, even within the independent music scene, artists tend to separate themselves by genre—genres built around cultures whose make-up often reflects the prejudices and racial distinctions of the United States’ socio-economic situation.

As art shifts and shapes with culture, its communities grapple with the cultural climate of the time, just like any other group.

So how are movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo affecting artists? Surely the same musicians who perform at The Women’s March and speak out against bigotry and hate on social media are taking such ideas into account while they’re producing and presenting their art?

I believe the difference is small, yet substantial in the way that it manifests. I listen to Bruno Mars’ new album and enjoy the 90s throwback style quite a bit, yet as a working musician and singer-songwriter myself, I would never cover the song 24K Magic, because that one line about “bad bitches and their ugly ass friends” makes me uncomfortable. The reason it makes me uncomfortable is because I understand that it makes some of my friends who are women uncomfortable. This understanding is crucial, and represents the moment where the conversations brought to the forefront by Black Lives Matter and #MeToo begin to influence culture. As people begin to understand one another differently, culture will shift to accommodate, and so will art. When I listen to Bruno Mars’ new album, I skip that song, because the moments of misogyny take me out of the album’s groovaliciousness and remind me of the stories that my roommate tells about her negative experiences with men—some of whom surely mistreat women because they hold mentalities similar to the ones Mars glorifies in his song.

Skipping that song is my choice, just like it was Bruno Mars’ choice to write that line, record ’24K Magic,’ and include it on his album.

Both choices are valid—to regulate art and creation would be to regulate conversation, and such artistic stifling isn’t conducive to understanding. Our choices are just different, and reflect different ideas. I wouldn’t say that my choice is so much an act of protest as it is an act of necessity. Why should I listen to a song if it makes me uncomfortable? With that, you could ask—why should Bruno Mars change his song if he feels comfortable with it? Plenty of people, both men and women, love the song, and that line.

As society shifts in response to conversations on human rights and morality, the way we interact with each other will change, and the way we interact with art will change. Lyrics deemed bigoted or misogynistic will cause songs to fall out of the mainstream, and at that point, it will be the artist’s choice on whether to change with society, or to try and change it back.

___________________________________________

Joel Worford is a singer-songwriter from Richmond, Virginia. He currently studies English at Longwood University with a concentration in Creative Writing. Joel’s short story “The Naked Eye” appears in the 2017 edition of Good Works Review.

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GOOD READ: "Why Online Activism Is Important For Social Justice" by Sareeta Lopez (from The Wanderer)

"Why is online activism important? For one, the internet has completely changed the way people communicate. It is now a legitimate place to do something meaningful. Discussing social justice issues online is a valid form of communication through which we can learn to be better activists. Engaging on online forums, blogs, and other websites educates others AND yourself. Just because the medium may not be a printed magazine or a university stage does not make it worthless, especially now that our world is increasingly online. It is true that online activism may sometimes do more harm than good: with so much information out there, it’s common to find false information. While this is a flaw, we must be able to think critically about what we find on the internet...

"The fact that people are talking online means that dialogue is happening: something every social justice movement needs...."

"...Social media has given us an amazing tool: a way to connect with like-minded online activists, and community is one of the most important things for any activism. The most fantastic result is that online activism only helps offline activism. The number of offline conversations I’ve had around social justice issues, whether feminism or something else altogether, has definitely increased since I started sharing my blog with people I know in real life. People in my offline life have reached out to me because of my online activism, sharing very personal stories about their struggles and telling me that they are inspired to do things offline too. When someone shares with me, I know I’ve made a difference...."

READ SAREETA LOPEZ'S FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

ABOUT THE WANDERER

Conceptualized by a small group of students at the University of Alberta in the summer of 2012, the Wanderer has grown to a full-fledged Edmontonian publication that has produced over a 1000 articles to date. The Wanderer has always operated in an open environment that values creative freedom and autonomy, which has resulted in our diverse and dynamic content. With a writing team that continues to grow and is always seeking new talent, the Wanderer is committed to expanding our readership while maintaining the same spirit that has been unique to our publication since its inception."

CHECK OUT THE WANDERER HERE

 

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Break Glass; The Art of V.L. Cox: A Conversation to End Hate, at the Longwood Center for Visual Arts

The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) will feature the poignant and timely work of VL Cox with its upcoming exhibition, Break GlassThe Art of VL Cox - A Conversation to End Hate. Cox’s artwork will be on display November 3, 2017-February 18, 2018 with an opening reception in the galleries on November 3 from 5-8pm.

Through her art, Cox aspires to spark conversation about civil rights and equality, while also exploring the persistence of hate and injustice in America today. Her work is often born in cathartic response to contemporary events and shaped from her own personal experiences growing up in Arkansas. “Personal conversations, with respect to one another, need to be had before we can move forward together,” Cox said. “There used to be a time when people could agree to disagree with civility, yet still have things in common. We need to find that place again.”

Visit the LCVA Website for more details. 

 

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Welcome to the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace! How We Got Here....

So happy you're here with us at the start of this new venture.

I've had the privilege of working with the national organization Writing for Peace for the last four years, an organization dedicated to employing the skills, talents, and energy of writers toward the goals of promoting empathy and peaceful activism. The dream of one woman, the amazing Carmel Mawle, Writing for Peace was founded in Colorado, with its initial goal of particularly reaching out to young writers, through an annual Young Writers' Contest. This dedication to both writing, my own field, and to young people, impressed me so much, and so I was thrilled when asked by Carmel to join the team of advisers associated with Writing for Peace. Writing for Peace continues to grow, under the direction of our new President, Andrea Slack Doray, and with an excellent board, committed to the mission Carmel first set out years ago.

I introduced the organization to my own students, young poets, essayists, and fiction writers, in the classes I teach at Longwood University, and they loved it, loved how the goals aligned with their own desire and passion for activism and social justice, loved that it embodied what they saw as the vital role of artists in creating real change in the world.

But Colorado's a long way from the rolling rural farmland of central Virginia, so one day I sent a message, a question, in a thread online, to a list of my most civically active current students and alums, asking, “How do we bring Writing for Peace here to Virginia? What would a regional chapter of WFP look like to you?”

The thread exploded, with the energy and enthusiasm and wisdom young people can bring, and the idea of WFP Regional Chapters began grow, including community activists in our area, as we developed the proposal, sought board approval, and began the steps to making this chapter of Writing for Peace a reality here in Central Virginia.

This past Sunday, using the magic of online video conferencing, we gathered, a small group of like-minded collaborators, for the first meeting of the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace.

Writers of all backgrounds and ages, supporters of the arts, community activists, anyone who wants to join us, we, as a chapter, want to do what we can, use the skills we have, to make our own communities and region better, stronger, more peaceful places for all who live here, through projects we develop as a chapter, and through the support we can as a group extend to other activists and organizations already doing good work on the ground where we are.

Beyond our desire to better our own communities, we hope that this inaugural chapter will inspire others to do the same, to come together to create Writing for Peace chapters in communities across the country, even across our beautiful planet.

We'll be posting here regularly, writing, projects, events, articles of interest, all with the hope of promoting discussions and activism toward peace. We hope you'll join us, as we work together toward a more peaceful, empathetic, loving, and just world--for everyone.

 

Mary Carroll-Hackett

Member, Central Virginia Chapter

MidAtlantic Regional Liaison

Writing for Peace

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