I recently posted a letter I wrote to the inmates in a woman’s prison in South Dakota in response to a request from their book club leader who had chosen one of my books for their next read. I knew when I wrote the letter that it would contain some land mines for you, my long time readers, if I were to post it in my blog. So that’s what I did. Here are some of the questions that were lurking in my mind that caused me to share it with you:
Is analogy a fair way to speak to another’s situation? Did my experience trivialize their experiences? Was I destined to be tarred with the “privileged white male” brush no matter what I wrote? Would you readers, more accustomed to seeing me write “consolations” rather than “inspirations” take offense at me stepping forward and offering advice? Would you be willing to accept me stepping into the role of direct teacher rather than the teaching role of fellow learner that I use in most of my books? Would you see my thoughts as an expression of empathy, which is something I take very seriously, or as unwarranted preaching?
Your responses brushed against all of these concerns. I’m writing this post to direct you to the “comments” section at the end of the last post so you can mull over this very interesting cyber conversation for yourself. If you haven’t read the original post, please do so before reading the comments.
I’m honored and gratified to have such an intelligent group of readers. I’m sure the post and the subsequent comments will provide food for thought for all of you. It certainly did for me.
So, thanks for sharing your insights. My great hope is that the inmates themselves will be able to respond to the letter and to your comments. The book club leader and I are working on this. Whatever I get back I’ll share with you. It would be a wonderful learning experience for all of us.