In another life I was a high school English teacher. For nearly 10 years I spent my days with teenagers, leading them to the works of Steinbeck and Shakespeare.
Honestly, I was not so worried about those standardized test scores. I was more concerned about introducing my students to the power of words – how they can shape and define, spark and inspire, and stretch through the millennium to reach future generations with notions and ideas that define the human condition.
I have always been hooked on words and the stories they tell. I wanted my students to be hooked too.
And we had fun. At least I think we did. Of Mice and Men and Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey, The Old Man and the Sea – we found ways to bring these beautiful stories to life.
I left teaching to pursue a career in writing of my own. And the results have been mixed.
Have I been published? Yes, hundreds of published credits carry my byline.
Did I achieve career goals? Sure did. Served as a managing editor for a fast-paced online news website where I wore many hats and worked many, many hours.
So, what’s the problem? Well, it’s a complicated answer.
In my 15 years as a professional writer, I have done it all – writing, editing, ghostwriting for news, magazines, educational publications and textbooks and online journals. I have written as an expert in parenting, home décor, architecture, sports, lifestyle, education, politics and news. I have two completed novels, one on the way and a slew of children’s books that are clamoring for an audience.
However, during this time I have watched the gradual but steady decline of the written word.
It’s been a subtle transition, but one that troubles me. Greatly.
We have celebrities writing children’s books.
We have venerated news publications losing their advertisers and slashing staff.
There are magazines, also hurting for ad dollars, closing up shop. Meanwhile, talented writers – like you – are watching opportunities dry up and fritter away like ash.
Publications want more from you – for much less. Smart, articulate voices have been silenced by reality stars and media mavens who drive page views. And the skill of crafting an artfully-constructed sentence has been supplanted by coarse language, itty-bitty Twitter-sized exchanges and LOLs.
Let’s bring it back, folks.
Let’s bring back the word – the beautiful, simple power of the WORD.
Let’s let this place, this new hub, be a place where writers – published and hopeful – can meet and mingle, teach and learn.
Let’s celebrate the successes of those who fight the good fight and of those who inch their way into the mainstream and spread all manner of wordy goodness to the masses.
Let’s reclaim the world of journalism and literature and online blogging.
We can do it right here. Right now.
I hope you’ll join me.
Kerri S. Mabee
Editor @ The Word — Home of the Educated WriterKerri S. Mabee