Everyone faces significant challenges in their lives. We learn and grow from them.
Sharing the stories of our struggles is cathartic and uplifting for both the teller and the reader, a Guelph publishers says. Bonds of understanding and friendship grow from that sharing.
Lisa Browning publishes the Sharing anthologies, volumes of stories of personal struggle, growth and triumph – inspirational stories of life. There have been two volumes of women’s stories, and one for men’s stories so far, at a pace of about one volume each year.
She has put a call out for submissions for the second men’s volume.
“It’s empowering for the people that write their stories, but for people who have read the stories as well,” she said. “So many people have contacted me after reading the stories saying, ‘Wow, I’m not alone.’ That’s the power of it all.”
Browning said the stories submitted for the anthologies – the first came out in late 2013 – run a narrative gamut, and have included stories of childhood sexual abuse, and drug and alcohol addiction.
There is a noticeable difference in the way women and men tell stories, she indicated.
“The women get into more of the nitty-gritty of their experiences,” she said. “In the first Sharing anthology for men, the men wrote more about relationships, and what it means to be male in this day and age.”
The anthologies are made up of stories of self-discovery and person growth – “our stories, our selves, our success,” as Browning has billed them. “Just the courage of standing behind your story and owning your truth is a powerful thing to do. It’s intimidating at times, because it’s out there for everybody to see.”
It was because of the very positive response to the first volume that Browning decided to do a second, then a third, and now a fourth edition. Learn about them, and about how to submit your story, at www.sharinganthologies.com.
Men are invited to submit true, personal stories of 3,000 words, give or take. Stories can be about obstacles that have been overcome, or any aspect of being male in today's world. Real names have to be used. Browning tends to include all submissions in the published volume.
The story-tellers pay a $50 fee to participate, which includes a thorough edit of their work, and copies of the book at cost. They then sell the soft-covered volumes for $20 retail and keep the proceeds. Browning encourages writers to give some of the proceeds to a charity of their choice.
The launch for Volume 4 is scheduled for November, and will coincide with Browning’s Empowerment Day event.
“Receiving the stories and reading them is very powerful for me,” she said. “I feel privileged that people trust me with this.”
The sharing of our stories of struggle and empowerment, Browning said, is an essential part of becoming a more honest society, and more unified in our common difficulties. Sharing ensures that we don’t feel all alone in what we go through.
“Even if you touch one person who is going through the same thing you are, it leaves that sense that if this person got through it, I can too,” she said. “Then the story has done its job.”