Today Americans celebrate the courage of the men and women of 1776 who, after a generation of frustration with British economic policies and military heavy-handedness, declared this land to be free and independent, and fought a war to make it so.
Yes, I said “and women.” My newest book, INDEPENDENT DAMES: WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE WOMEN AND GIRLS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION examines the roles that women and girls played during the war.
Please read the Declaration of Independence out loud. Read it to your kids or your partner or your cats. This document is the beginning of our promise to ourselves: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The men who wrote this document fell short of their own dreams, of course. They could not find the courage to grant freedom to people of color, or to recognize that women were equal and able partners. See my forthcoming book, CHAINS, (pub date 10/21) for my take on how the Revolution looked to a slave from Rhode Island.
But the Declaration was a magnificent start. We still have lots of growing to do, as a nation, but as a very smart man said, “America is the sum of our dreams. And what binds us together, what makes us one American family, is that we stand up and fight for each other’s dreams…”
What does this have to do with out writing challenge? Everything.
Today’s goal: Write for fifteen minutes. Don’t judge, don’t edit (yet!), just let the words chase each other onto the page.
Today’s non-fiction prompt: Write your own Declaration of Independence. Declare to yourself and the world which old, unsatisfactory notions and habits (relating to your writing) that you are freeing yourself from. Write down how your former mindset was hurting you; stifling your creativity and strangling your dream. Post some of it in the comments section, if you want.
Today’s fiction prompt: Historical fiction alert! Write down a scene from the interior of the Pennsylvania State House where the men of the Continental Congress were gathered to debate the Declaration, and possibly sign it, thus committing themselves and their families and fortunes to high treason against the King. (Don’t worry about getting the historical details right (YET!). If you were to turn this into a polished piece, you would find all of those while researching.) Try to jump back and forth between the exterior action and dialog (the debate about the document and its consequences) and the interior thoughts of your main character.
Today’s motivation: A lot of people died so that you and I could have the right to write and say what we want. Write for the ones who sacrificed themselves for our freedom. You can do it for fifteen minutes.
Think of me while you’re eating potato salad today.