and Confessions by Uta Hannemann
Writing is hard. For me, it takes a lot out, because I’m pouring so much energy in. It’s okay to wonder why you’re doing that, when so few people really pay attention. They’re your words, after all. Crafted by you, and yet it seems so irrelevant.
I think it’s okay to say that being anonymous hurts, when you think you have something to say, and that what you have to say is meaningful in some way. Or just different. Or just a voice that hasn’t been heard before. My experiences in my writing are shaped by being an immigrant to North America. For anyone who hasn’t followed that path, it’s impossible to explain what I mean by that. If you’ve not experienced racism in its ugly forms before, you cannot feel me.
But it’s more than that. I want to create better worlds. Unravelling human nature, in its oddness and ugliness, allows us to look for something better. At least I believe it does. What world should we create? Where is the place that we want to be? As dark as I like to get with my writing, as completely crazy as I often get with plots, there is one defining thing that I like to bring: an uplifting narrative. A sense of hope. A sense that it’s going to be okay, that we will figure this out together.
In my work world, I tackle the climate crisis. Same thing. We will figure this out, no matter how hard it is, or how many people demean you and put you down and tell you that your work is useless. Why does that matter? The cause is true. The journey defined. The fight, for lack of a better word, is righteous.
Is my writing righteous? Does it actually mean anything, or have any place in this world? Who makes that determination? Not me. It’s not me. That’s important to remember. Voices we have, and often we speak, but speaking is not enough to be heard, and hearing is not something people must do. It’s not.
But voices we have, and voices we should bring, no matter what. This is the righteous part of the fight, the struggle. It’s not like anyone has a right to be listened to. It’s the thought of voices, sometimes underrepresented, sometimes misrepresented, having a place… Just having a place. That’s the part that matters. Speak, and you might be heard. There really isn’t any other answer.
If I can help hear you, and celebrate your voice, I will. I won’t be perfect at this, but I will surely try, because you’re in the struggle, too. The righteous fight to say something, to be heard. As a collective, we are heard. That’s a real cause, and that cause, no matter how much we might feel otherwise at times, is wonderful. And so are you.
Confessions by Uta Hannemann, 28/09/2021
Having read Trent Lewin’s confessions again and again, there is something in me that does want to respond to every sentence of these confessions! Why do I want to write “when so few people really pay attention”? How can it be “irrelevant”, when what I say is something that is not irrelevant to me at all but something I do want to communicate!
You say: “My experiences in my writing are shaped by being an immigrant to North America.”
To that I can say, that I am an immigrant to Australia. Has racism been a problem for me? Not really, somehow I more or less probably did fit in with the ‘White Australia Policy’ that was very much still aspired to at the time when I came to Australia. I came from a country where I felt to be different from the mainstream. In mainstream Australia I felt different from the mainstream too, however I immediately felt grateful, that Australia accepted me the way I am.
You talk about an uplifting narrative. To me ‘uplifting narratives’ are the best of writing. I think when I read something, I want it to be uplifting somehow. When I write something, I aim for honesty, also for trying to understand human nature, but also searching for the good in humanity despite all the aberrations and actions that cause harm.
You say, in your world you tackle the climate crisis and that it is a righteous fight. And this is my feeling exactly, a righteous fight no matter how many people oppose you.
I like the way you ponder about the meaning of both speaking and hearing. To me, writing is often a way of speaking. When I speak, not everyone is willing to listen, really listen to me. The same with writing, not everyone is willing or interested to read what I write. It is so gratifying, when all of a sudden someone is very interested in listening to what I have to say. The same, with what I write, how marvellous when all of a sudden a few people are interested in reading what I write! 🙂
When you take the time to listen to a person’s life story, if you really listen, you find that every person’s life story has something interesting in it. Yes, everyone should be listened to by someone. Everyone has a right to a place in our world.
You speak about the collective. Do you mean, we are always part of a collective no matter how isolated we might feel?
As I said, your writing, dear Trent, means a lot to me: It stimulates my feelings and my thoughts!