Friday, June 30, 2017
$500 awarded to first place winners, as well as publication in our January 2018 issue
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “empower” as “to give official authority or legal power to,” “to enable,” and “to promote the self-actualization and influence of.” It defines “disempower” with slightly different nuances: “to deprive of power, authority, or influence; to make weak, ineffectual, or unimportant.” We want to see your best writing that converses with one or both of these words and more, in terms of content as well as form.
To us, this theme invites considerations of power and agency and their possession, both the lack and the excess thereof. Tell us your true story of powerlessness, weakness, ineffectiveness (cultural, artistic, spiritual, racial, economic, and more). Or take a hard look at how we sometimes treat others: Tell us your true story of too much authority, or too much strength, or legal or social power—influence and attention you may have desired or deserved (or not), and which may have cost you or cost someone else, or both. Tell us your personal story (or the true story of someone you know, and how that story has affected you) that engages with this theme from any or many direction(s).
Under the Gum Tree wants your very best narratives, articulated in any form (straight-ahead narrative, lyric, modular, etc.), that invite us as readers and people into a space, experience, examination or contemplation that brings us closer to our raw, complex and varied humanity/ies and challenges us to deeper authenticity with ourselves and fuller empathy toward others. In our telling of our true stories, we can begin to move out of shame, silence and loss and create a forum in which respect and honoring are the coins of the realm, a forum in which community lifts up more than it limits. Send us something that calls us out, something that draws us toward others. Send us something that sets us unequivocally on a path toward change.