By Jennifer A. Minotti, Editor-in-Chief
PROMPT—I am grateful for ...
In my last newsletter, I spoke of my deep commitment to social justice, anti-racism, equity, access, and inclusion. These were not just words for performance sake, but words followed by action. I don't pretend to get it right all of the time—FAR from it. I mess up regularly! But I am committed to staying the course—for the long haul— and I'm dedicated to continually learning, improving and being in service to others.
That is why I will not tire you out with baseless musings on the current state of affairs. We all know what's going on.
Instead, I want to thank you for your presence and for bringing your full selves to the pages of the Journal of Expressive Writing. Whether you are a subscriber, reader or contributor, your dedication in support of the full expression of yourselves and others is neither overlooked, nor unappreciated.
On the contrary.
Since the journal's grand launch in May, it has been my unfeigned honor to read and publish over 100 pieces of poetry and prose from the most talented, courageous and wholehearted writers I have ever met. Over the past six months, these authors—living in the U.S., China, India, Nepal, Canada, Pakistan, Nigeria, Poland, and Australia—have turned their words into action.
I am here to thank them.
And I am here to thank you for supporting my mission to publish their words.
Not "perfect" words or "finished" words or "the right" words. Just beautiful, heartfelt, true, and deeply sincere words. Words that individuals just like you turned into action.
These are the most sincere type of words—ones attached to action.
And they personify the truest meaning of the word gratitude.
Here in the U.S., we are coming up on the 51st National Day of Mourning that—in some parts of the country—is replacing the traditional Thanksgiving holiday. The National Day of Mourning is a day of remembrance in protest against the ongoing racism and oppression that Native Americans continue to experience today. It is also, still, a day when millions of people pause to express their gratitude.
The Journal of Expressive Writing wants to hear from you. How will you be celebrating or protesting this Thanksgiving/National Day of Mourning? How does Covid-19 affect your travel plans? In what ways are you grateful this year? For whom are you thankful? If you are outside of the U.S., what and for whom are you grateful? Write for 15-20 minutes to the prompt, "I am grateful for ..." and see what happens. Try not to censor yourself. Writing is therapeutic, healing and transformational.
** And if you don't believe me, follow the journal's Twitter feed for weekly posts about research in the growing fields of expressive writing, writing therapy, writing to heal, and journaling.
Our Call for Submissions is always open and there is never a deadline. Why? Because I would never want to impose a time frame on when and how you express your words. I am grateful for your words, always ... today, tomorrow, next year, years from now. Send them to me when you're ready. Send them to me again, years from now, and see how they have changed. And if you never want to send them to me? That's fine, too. Write them anyway, for yourself.
As we navigate the windy road(s) ahead of us, I continue to encourage you to use your words in whatever way(s) feel safe, appropriate and inspiring to you. Use your words to elevate social and racial injustices. Use your words to create meaningful dialogue with other human beings, even those sitting across the political aisle. Use your words to creatively express yourself on the page, so that others may hear you—really, truly hear you.
Use your words to thank others frequently and unabashedly!
All of you have made my life more meaningful. I am deeply humbled and beholden to you for your engagement, commitment and love.
Jennifer A. Minotti is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Expressive Writing. She is a Writer-in-Residence at the Center for Women's Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University and a Ph.D. student at Lesley University. Jen is the founder of the Women’s Writing Circle, Co-creator of the World’s Very First Gratitude Parade, and helped establish Gratitude Day in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. For 17 years, Jen worked at Education Development Center (EDC) on projects that focused on education, health, and human development. She is a graduate of Boston University and Columbia University, and is passionate about expressive writing and spreading gratitude through her Gratitude Jar project.