If you dare to be the change, the change can become you.
“Most of us want to believe we can be the change, that being the change will support the change, but how many of people really believe it? How many people do you think really believe that they can share their life in such a way that they contribute to creating the world they want to live in?” — Dixie Gillapsie
Do you have a story to tell?
Have you seen a potential for a different, better world but don’t know how to make positive change happen? Me too… well I was there not too long ago. Then I took a chance and made my first attempt at online publishing with a haiku. Now I am a managing editor, how the heck did that happen? Could it happen to you too?
First, I was a reader, and obviously you are too. Check!
Cameron Conaway’s piece on Thailand, boys, and the sex trade was the first article I read that really looked at an issue, which most know little about, and approached the topic in a solution-oriented way. I was hooked. Not too long after reading his article, I saw Cameron post a request on Facebook for masculinity haikus. I thought,
“hey I’ve written a lot of haikus, one of them must have a masculinity theme.”
Sure enough, one did. Street Corner Pluck Shave. I sent it to Cameron, and the haiku went live. Publishing your writing can really be that easy, you just have to take the first step and submit!
I dared to put myself out there. Have you?
After my haiku was posted, I saw a reference on Facebook about The Good Men Project’s writer’s group. I checked the group out and saw a requirement for joining was to have posted something you wrote on The Good Men Project. Hmm, I submitted a haiku, the haiku was something I wrote, and the haiku was posted on the project. So what the hell, I might as well request to join the writer’s group. Sure enough my request was accepted. Once you send in your writing, your request to join the writer’s group could be accepted to participate in the writer’s group discussions and get a chance to see inside the conversation.
After I was in the writer’s group and observing the process, Cameron sent me an email in reference to a performance art video I had done in Sliven, Bulgaria. He wanted to repost it, but he needed a paragraph about my artistic intention. A brief statement of artistic intention was something that pretty much wrote itself, and the next thing I knew I had two posts published. This scenario plays out regularly at The Good Men Project. The editors are always looking for unique stories, and the editors know the writers pretty well. So, once you are in the system, you might find requests for content coming your way.
I spent a few weeks lurking in the writer’s group on Facebook, I would check and see if I had any experience with the topics. One day, Neil Hill posted a request for stories about positive American Indian role models. Not being a tribal member myself, I was uncertain about writing an article on the topic. Neil assured me that the influence Leonard Peltier had on me was more than sufficient. That is how The Spirit of Crazy Horse Lives On In Me got written. The writer’s group is a really great way for you to get story ideas, interact with editors, find help fine tuning your writing, and receive encouragement to push you forward.
After my first full article was posted, things mover pretty quickly. By February, I was an editor for the social justice section. By March, I was editing more content for the prison section and contributing to the environment section. By June, I was a senior editor and not long after, a managing editor. This is not unusual, a similar story has played out for most of our editors and contributors, and the same thing could happen for any other reader who takes the chance to put themselves out there for positive change.
I was ready, are you?
13 months after my journey with online publishing began, I posted on Facebook about how my time with The Good Men Project had started with a haiku. Almost instantly Michael Kasdan popped up with this:
So, in a bit of karmic weirdness, Wilhelm Cortez and I just realized that we both came to The Good Men Project through our submissions to a Haiku poetry contest. Our submissions were published a day apart 13 months ago. Bizarre.
Bizarre indeed. Michael’s haiku, Opening Right Up, was posted on Oct. 24, 2013 and my haiku was on Oct. 25, 2013. Thirteen months later we were both completely assimilated into the fabric of the project. Numerological based conspiracy theorists take note. 😉
After Michael and I embraced the bizarreness, an extreme spontaneous four verse extended Haiku collaborative manoeuvre went down:
Night Rain (Michael):
And now it’s raining.
A cold wet blanket descends.
Harder and harder.
Response 1 (Wilhelm):
Autumn night cool gone
Now noon heat comes up to sweat
Days grow short and dry
O Hanami (Michael):
Gentle blooms pink kiss.
Now gone barren, dark, alone.
Time fleets, petals drop.
Response 2 (Wilhelm):
Head leaves in brisk wind
Streets open to night, no light
Unknown days ahead
I guess Haikus make good seeds for growing editors.
You can do this too
you don’t even have to be
one who writes haiku
The Good Men Project is a rare species in the media world. Someone, like me or possibly you, who is virtually unknown can go from a 17 syllable post to generating content read by an international audience on a daily basis. This same thing can happen for ANYONE who decides to take a chance for change. The first step is reading, the second step is sending us your words.
At The Good Men Project readers become leaders.
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