Friday, February 10, 2017

Letter from NaNoWriMo, and Reply

Received Feb 10, 2017, 4:32 PM, from NaNoWriMo

What we stand for, what we stand against.

Dear Wunderscribbler,

As a creative writing nonprofit, we’re not a political organization. We don’t endorse candidates or support any particular party. In an ideal world, we would focus only on empowering people to write.

Yet we find ourselves in a time where people’s ability to tell their stories—and even to safely exist—is at stake.

NaNoWriMo strives to be a gateway and sanctuary for people’s voices. Our guiding belief is that every person’s story matters, and we celebrate the inclusion of all religions, races, genders, sexualities, and countries of origin. We help people find a safe space to be who they are—creators, storytellers, and world changers.

Because of this core organizational value, we join the many voices standing against the presidential executive order that bans refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

For over 15 years, we’ve had the privilege of writing alongside a community from over 200 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. We don’t build walls. We strive to dissolve borders through stories, the vital human narratives that expand our worlds.

So while we are not a political organization, we feel moved to take action.

In response to the executive order, as well as any future government efforts that threaten people’s basic freedoms, we will:

  • Celebrate creativity over apathy, diversity over fear, and productivity over despair.
  •  Welcome all stories and continue to make NaNoWriMo a safe space for all writers.
  •  Advocate for the transformative power of storytelling to connect people and build a better world.

If you have concrete ideas for how we can work toward these goals (or if you have feedback about anything in this message), please share your thoughts.

Thank you for being part of NaNoWriMo. We are all individuals of different beliefs and backgrounds, but we come together through a shared passion. We pledge to remember that, and to look to our community as a model and inspiration, as we get to the work ahead.

With gratitude and optimism,
Grant Faulkner
Executive Director



I also favor people's ability to exist, and to tell their stories, and celebrate the inclusion of all religions, races, genders, and sexualities, and countries of origin.

In words composed by a great speechwriter, "it is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.

"And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their hearts with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator." (Inaugural Address, President Donald Trump)

I fail to see, however, why these commitments would move you to send an email on behalf of NaNoWriMo opposing the executive order that temporarily suspends immigration from a list of nations, compiled under President Obama as posing a particular risk of terrorist attacks, until the nations in question can comply with informational needs of the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to give our government reasonable assurances that their citizens entering our country are who they say they are, and do not present a risk of attacking our people. Perhaps you have not read the executive order and are relying on mainstream media accounts for your understanding of it. The order is here. Whatever one says about the wisdom or need for such an order, the immigration policy of one nation is hardly relevant to the business of writing novels in a certain month.

It seems more likely that you felt a strong need to be affirmed in your hatred for all things Trumpian, and an assurance that the people you associate with share that hatred, so that you could pretend that it makes you better than people who do not share it. At some level, you must know that the hatred that makes Trump opponents physically attack people going to listen to a Trump supporter speak in Berkeley, and makes them scream epithets at Trump supporters in the street, and physically block a Trump appointee from entering a school in the District of Columbia, and physically attack people they thought were Trump voters in Chicago, in Maryland, in Virginia and Connecticut, California, and Florida, and murder a man in Georgia--this Trump-hatred is not a virtue, but a terrible, soul-destroying sin: and if you ever calm down enough, you will also be able to see that a nation's measures to protect its borders are by contrast not hatred at all.

In any case, this kind of bilge from NaNoWriMo I don't need. I've unsubscribed to your list. I trust you will be pleased.

Justin M. Tarquin

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to their statement condemning the dozens of countries that ban immigrants from Israel. Irt's just hard to hear them over the sound of all these crickets.