What Would You Do Without Your Voice?

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It is difficult to write this post. To be honest, I have no idea where to begin. But I have to start somewhere. As a writer I have always found myself imagining worlds inside my head. Most of them are harsh, unforgiving, and full of adversity for the main characters. But what would a good story be without the hardships that make you love them? Their stories come to life through the magic of words that transform into a world of possibilities, taking shape as if guided by the invisible hand of a creative cosmos. I love reading stories saturated with real pain and struggle, no matter their genre. Perhaps it is because they make me feel, and emotion is the essence of humanity.

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In the last few days I’ve been experiencing a jumble of anger, frustration, desperation, and sorrow. Not because one of the worlds inside my head came tumbling down, or because I have writer’s block, or because I read a book that left me crying on the couch all night. But because, unlike the pretend worlds I love to read about, something tragic is happening in the real world. Something to rival the best YA books about dystopian repression you can find in the market today, and that seem to be very popular.

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The series of events taking place in Venezuela as you are reading this have made me realize that sometimes burying your head inside a book isn’t the best thing to do. Don’t take me wrong. I love books. I love writing for crying out loud. But I also love living. It is through living that writing shines. Without real experiences shaping our lives on a daily basis, writing would be tasteless, bland, flavorless, boring. It is easy sometimes, maybe even effortless, to lose yourself inside a pretend world of struggle where the main characters are picture perfect as they fight together for their future. But too much pretending can detach you from the real world where many of those struggles go unnoticed, maybe even ignored.

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I wonder where the characters we love would be without their voice. Or worse, where would they be if we as writers repressed their voice. If we move this concept from the pretend world of books to the real world of today it posses and interesting question. Where would you be without your voice? What would you do without it? Our voices are sacred. They express our inner most thoughts and ideals. They are uniquely ours, and as such should be respected, even if they aren’t all in accordance with one another. This is at the heart of our individual freedom.

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I would like to invite you to take part on something real today and make a stand for something that matters. Most of you know I am originally from Venezuela. My family still lives there. My friends are the ones on the streets. My brothers and sisters are the ones dying to defend the freedoms of the country of my childhood. It may not be as romanticized as some of the stories we read, or some of the stories I write. But it is the truth. Their voices are being censored. Their blood is being shed. While the pretend worlds we love so much continue to flourish in the minds of all those who read them, let us also nourish the real world we live in. So that it too may flourish in the minds of all of those who live in it. Us.

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The following video is a little snapshot of what has happened in Venezuela in the last three days. Perhaps by sharing it with others we can become the voices of the silenced.

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