Flash Storytell

Time: Up to the group’s desires and visions

Location: Public locations with large amounts of people (Universities, shopping centers, museums, parks, etc.)

Materials: Letters, speakers

Process: This is a visionary, imaginative, and hopeful practice of writing from the future to the youth of the present that are fighting and striving to create a more just world. The practice is inspired by Alexis Pauline Gumbs story from Octavia’s Brood “Evidence”, in which a letter is written to their younger activist self:

“…I am proud of you for being queer, I am proud of you for staying present to the meaning of your beliefs and to the consequences of your actions even when they were crashing into each other everyday. I am proud of you for letting the tide of your revolutionary heritage grind your fear of failure and lack to sand. I love you…” (Evidence, p.40).

In this practice participants will write letters to their younger selves from their future selves, from a place where the changes they have been striving to create and envisioning are realized. Flash storytell is in part prefigurative intervention (Beautiful Trouble) in which we offer possible, more imaginative and justice-infused futures. And the practice is also one of tenderness, gratitude, and patience while people are growing (Evidence, p.35).

After the letters are written, they will be shared and workshopped with the group. Themes can vary but should have their origins in a hopeful future. The intent is to write from the voice of what young activists and radical dreamers may need to hear right here and right now. Once the letters are workshopped, the group will stage a flash storytelling in which people read their letters aloud (can be read anonymously or by other participants) in public spaces. The group will also produce a zine/booklet of all the letters written. In this practice, we can actively dialogue about what we envision as a healthier more love-filled future while also practicing self-care and collective-care throughout the pursuit of justice. Amidst the struggle for justice, there should be space for hope, gratitude, and a love for growth for what has already been realized and what continues to be in the works.

Example letter:

Dear young dreamer,

With your radical, hopeful, tender heart, breathe deeply and keep loving because we did it. I am proud of you for creating something hopeful, something beautiful. Sweet pea, I’m so excited for you to make it here and to see this world you all have so lovingly envisioned through sweat, dismissal, pain, trauma, hefty student loans and shitty part time jobs. We have made it to the mountaintop love, and it’s fucking rad. Love, Addyson

“Kindness eases change.
Love quiets fear.
And a sweet and powerful
Positive obsession
Blunts pain,
Diverts rage,
And engages each of us
In the greatest,
The most intense
Of our chosen struggles.”
Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents

Artwork by Addyson Frattura

Tags: Empowerment, Healing, Societal Reflection, Visual Communication