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Posted by Jeff from ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 at 12:44PM :

“What is the source of our first suffering?

It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak.

It was born in the moment when we accumulated silent things within us.”

-quoted in Writing for Your Life

Gaston Bachelard

"Stories heal us because we become whole through them. In the process of writing, of discovering our story, we restore those parts of ourselves that have been scattered, hidden, suppressed, denied, distorted, forbidden,

and we come to understand that stories heal.

As in the word remember, we re-member, we bring together the parts;

we integrate that which has been alienated or separated out,

revalue what has been disdained."

-from Writing for Your Life

Deena Metzger

Do you have a personal experience you want to share with others?

Do you have a story to tell?

Have you ever dreamed of getting published?

Here is your opportunity. This is to inform you that Iklas Bashi and Barbara Matti are beginning to make contacts and develop ideas for a book on the experiences of Chaldean American women. We encourage you and other Chaldean women you know to contribute a story for this future publication. This could be in the form of a narrative, poetry, lyrics to a song, or whatever format you choose to write. It could be written in first person or third-it doesn't matter. Please do not be concerned with grammar, spelling, and so forth - although your content should be clear. Barb and ! I will edit all entries later. What is most important is that you write about an experience that you feel passionate about. This could illustrate perhaps a lesson learned, an accomplishment, a struggle, or some other experience you went through and just never forgot and wish to share with others. Or it could be what you may consider as your "life" story. Perhaps its tone may be angry, hurt, betrayed, joyful, humorous, sad, serious, etc. When writing, keep in mind your own struggle for identity as an individual comprised of two different cultures: Chaldean and American. We are interested in real stories. At this point, there is! no limit as to the length of your contribution so … write away. Your entries should be submitted as soon as possible.

Our intention with the book is to give Chaldean women everywhere a VOICE. Chaldean women's stories need to be told and heard and shared. During my graduate studies, I had a course on Multicultural Counseling. This dealt with counseling clients from different ethnic backgrounds. Of all the books that were required and recommended for the course, not one deal with the experience of Chaldeans in general or Chaldean women specifically. Our intention is to change this phenomenon. As Chaldean women, we need to believe that we have value and that we have much to contribute to our families, our community, our society, and ourselves.

Please reflect on and recall the experiences that you feel have shaped your identity as a Chaldean-American woman. We would like to know how you define yourself and the journey that brings you to the discovery of yourself. If you have poetry, journal entries, artwork, or other personal documents that may describe your experience more fully, please feel free to submit them as well.

We want you to know that we are fully aware of the investment you are making in sharing your "story" with us. We encourage you to be open and honest. As Chaldean-American women, we are well aware of the stigma attached to self-disclosure in our culture and community. We want to assure you that everything you share with us is sacred and confidential.

There is no monetary compensation for your submission. However, whatever you submit to us may be submitted to other publications if you wish to do so. You will be provided with five copies of the book at no cost.

We urge you to take this venture seriously and make a contribution. All entries must be typed. Hand written entries will not be considered. You will be informed whether your entry is accepted by February 31, 2004.

The following information must be included in your submission,

preferably on the cover page:

1. Full name
2. address
3. phone number where you are easily reached
4. email address (if you have one)
5. indication to either publish your work anonymously or author your name to it.

Please submit your entries to Barb or me via email ASAP to the following addresses:

Or you may send them via regular mail to the following address:

Iklas Bashi

Barbara Matti

The Hinna Group

P.O. 96

Walled Lake, MI 48390-0096

We are guided by a great sense of trust, hope, and excitement about this work and look forward to this experience being a growth process for all of us.

Warmest Regards,

Iklas Bashi

Barb Matti

P.S. If you have difficulty beginning to write, we highly recommend two books that will no doubt help you in the process of writing and discovering your true self. They are Writing For Your Life by Deena Metzger and Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Both of these resources are truly a gem and can be found at any major bookseller. Take the time to reflect on the following questions and each of the emphasized words. Then you will realize you do have something to say.

-from Writing For Your Life

What must I say?

What must I say?

What must I say?

What must I say?

What must I say to you?

According to Metzger, to begin to know the answer to this question is to begin to know the essential self.

And while your busy writing your story, do not forget to venture out into the world and create more stories.

I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you,

and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears

and your laughter, until they bloom,

until you yourself burst into bloom.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

-- Jeff
-- signature .

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