This is the final post in the WCWW series “Mad Props Mondays”. Today’s post is written by Sara Blackthorne. Sara is an exception; her motivation and enthusiasm for writing and for world-changing pushed her entry up several notches. We had an email exchange wherein we decided to support her and her writing because we can see a World-Changer in her, for sure.
January 14, 2015
After a series of cross-continental flights and meetings with some of highest-ranking officials in India, Pakistan, Britain, and the United States, photographer and writer Sara Blackthorne has created the beginnings of a peace accord on the Pakistan/India border. Using her unique talent to bring the stories of women and girls from both sides of the borderlands to the eyes and ears of Westerners, Ms. Blackthorne has connected heads of state from the world’s superpowers and the two nations at war since the border was created at the fall of the British Empire to create a truce agreement, allowing for women and girls who work in the border areas to cross easily in search of better-paying jobs, education, and financial opportunities to raise their families from extreme poverty. Ms. Blackthorne has had installation exhibits in 15 countries in the last 5 years, combining her images with the stories of women and girls from across the globe.
Hi. My name is Sara Blackthorne. This is a press release from the future, one in which I am living the life I dream (and expect to create) in the next five years. Though I am a professionally trained writer, I recognize that in the years since earning my degree, my writing (and life) has lost its passion and zest. Not only has my writing lost its “oomph,” but I also have quelled some of my inner passion, losing much of the confidence I had as a young, zealous, wide-eyed change-maker.
The thing about writing and changing the world is this: passion, drive, confidence, and support are all key ingredients. I do not mean that they come from outside. My response, since the age of 5, to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is: a catalyst for positive change. I do not come from a lineage of change-makers. I come from a family of hard-working working poor. Things do not change, except for the number of bills. And yet this does not deter me. I follow my passion. I follow the justice of my heart. I stumble sometimes.
This is what has me to writing you now. Since the moment I heard about the World-Changing Writers Workshop, there has been a stirring. Really more of an agitation. Actually, an annoyance. With myself. I am not doing the work I am meant to do. I am complacent. And bewildered. And a little disheartened by my current personal state of affairs. Not only am I ready to change me, but I am ready to step forward into the unknown of my future.
Both Chris Guillebeau and Leo Babauta ask us to think about our unique gift to the world. What is it we bring that is just ours, specifically ours? I really struggled with this question. Who am I to have a unique gift? How am I any different? After much thought, introspection, and indecisiveness, I realized this: my unique gift to the world is my passion. My excitement. My belief in social change, and the willingness to stand for what I believe. Anyone can write, but no one else can say the words in my heart. Anyone can take photographs, but no one sees the world through my eyes.
I have long dreamed of traveling to other countries (from my working-class comfort in the USA) and working with women and girls, teaching them about writing and collecting their stories. I believe that when we hear the words of others, listen to the stories of their hearts, we are profoundly changed. I am destined for a life of collecting those stories and sharing them with others. I want to take this one step further by putting faces to the stories I collect, sharing not only words but also images of women and girls from across the globe.
The chance to from some of the clearest minds about world-changing, writing, and world-changing writing is an incredible opportunity, which is not something I do to benefit only me. The inspiration I have for taking this course is to better hone my own skills in order to bring the stories of others into the world. Each experience with which I am presented is an opening of my own heart and mind, a crack into which a million possibilities can flood. I am not applying for this scholarship into the workshop because I want it. I am applying and sending you this because I need to learn better the ways of writing, marketing, and putting myself out there to make change. I crave guidance in order to follow the directions of my passion. And the tools and skills presented in the World-Changing Writers Workshop will give me clarity and wisdom, which I will put to great use to make the world a smaller – and at the same time much greater – place to exist.
If nothing else, know this: I will make change. I will be the change I wish to see in the world. And I will be the subject of that press release, and many more like it, in the coming years. I’d like to bring this wisdom along the journey with me.
Sara Blackthorne is a writer, editor, photographer, and catalyst for positive change living in the Maddest City in Wisconsin. She plans to earn her TEFL certification, start an international photography business, travel the world, and document the stories of women and girls in every country she can enter, all before the age of thirty. She and her cat live with their respective housemates in a home made of joy. Peanut Butter Cups make her insanely happy. As does cooking. And love.
You can read Sara’s blog or follow her on Twitter!