Monday, January 11, 2010

An Apology to a Congo Activist

Recently, Lisa Shannon, author of the upcoming book, A Thousand Sisters: My Journey Into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman, wrote a very personal and moving letter on her blog to her friend "Kelly," who accompanied her on her first trip to the Congo. The letter was inspired by PS: What I Didn't Say, edited by Megan McMorris, which is a beautiful collection of unsent letters to female friends

In this letter, Shannon talks about how she wanted to keep the tension that arose between her and Kelly out of the memoir, but eventually realizes she has to be honest about her experiences. Now, Shannon regrets what she wrote in her upcoming memoir: A Thousand Sisters. Shannon says, "But I do want you to know this: whatever judgment or frustration I express in the book, absolutely none of it trumps my profound respect for the fact that you showed up for Congo."

Shannon captures the difficulties in writing a memoir. She is opening herself up to the world by writing about her experiences in the Congo, but at the same time, she wanted to keep certain things off limits and private and finds it impossible to do in the end. She has to be real, raw, and open about what she went through. What makes A Thousand Sisters so compelling, is that Shannon is willing to share her most difficult times, and the ways in which she felt torn about her experiences in the Congo, and how those experiences made her stronger.

You can read Shannon's letter here, and also take a moment to look at her other blog posts. Shannon also has a facebook fan page for A Thousand Sisters, which will keep you apprised of upcoming events and the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A Thousand Sisters is coming out in April 2010 and Shannon will be reading and attending events all over the country. We'll keep you posted!

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