An Open Letter to the Contributors of Little Red Bird Press Online Magazine

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Dear Authors,

You did it.  You showed up.  You wrote your stories.  You shared them.  You will be published.  You’re launching into greater connections and greater things on the horizon.

When I had the idea for an online magazine for women, I honestly thought I’d beg a handful of friends to write articles and we’d see where it went from there.  I decided I’d give it a try — and I’d be okay with having a lot of hype publicly around something that may not be sustainable if I found only a few women were interested.  I thought you’d tell me that you’re really not that into writing, or that you don’t have time, or that you’re simply uninterested.  I had hoped that wouldn’t be the response, but I had decided I wouldn’t let it hurt my ego (at least not let it hurt my ego too bad).

But you showed up.  Not only did you show up, but you affirmed a thought swirling in my head — you already had a story.  It was sitting there waiting to come out and all it needed was a nudge from someone.  It was on the verge of your brain and your tongue and your pen and your paper and your keyboard.  You didn’t have to think twice about which story to tell.  You didn’t debate if you should write about this topic or that topic.  You didn’t have to self-edit or stretch and reach for creativity to make something exist you had never thought about before.  You had your story and you wrote it and you graciously sent it to me.

You walked through grief.  You had a partner with an addiction.  You had thoughts on parenting and motherhood.  You found yourself through new hobbies.  You expressed yourself in poetry.  You shared your passions for travel.  You beat the odds.  You gave tips based on your life lessons.  You shared the secret thing you had been hiding.  You encouraged people to dream big.  You talked about your grandmothers.  You talked about abusive relationships.  You talked about comparison.  You told your story about adoption.  You reminded people to go for their goals.  And these, these became the stories that filled my inbox and left me saying to Chris every night, ” . . . you’re not going to believe what people are sending me . . . seriously . . . these stories . . . ”

. . . these became the stories that made me feel like starting a platform for women to write was finally “THE THING.”  All of the blogging and writing and dreaming and having a love for listening to people talk about the unique series of events that make up their lives have led to “THE THING” I was searching for that I wouldn’t have otherwise imagined without all of those steps that came before it.

I’ve emailed, and private messaged, and edited, and formatted, and had Chris make changes to the website, and debated fonts, and searched for cover photos, and came up with social media schedules, and scribbled layouts and notes in every spare journal, and talked about it with family.  And now — the site is ready.  In 2 days, it will launch and I will nervously sit back and watch how storytelling can connect and empower women.

As your Publisher, I am committed to treating all of your stories with care.  Truly, I treat them with a level of preciousness that I can’t describe.  I have cried over them and laughed over them and learned a thing or two over them.  And I am completely honored (understatement) that you’d let me play a small part in your story by taking it and launching it out into the world; even when sharing your story can feel like the scariest thing in the world, I know.

My intention is to create connections and become a catalyst for you for braver things that may come from your publication.  When I gave my Tedx Columbus talk in 2014, the speakers had to provide three words that described ourselves to be displayed largely on the screen behind us when we walked on stage.  My words were:  Daughter, Leader, Catalyst.  My mom suggested “catalyst” at the time, it felt fancy and I liked the sound of it, so I went with it.  This forum — this online magazine — finally makes me step back and go, “Yes! Catalyst!” . . . launching your stories into the next phase of whatever is waiting for you on the other side.  I pray that I’ll someday receive a note from you that says you went on to write that book, or you ended up launching your blog you’ve been thinking about, or you connected with other women who were inspired by the story you shared.

Everyone has a story.  And no one has to look too deep to find it.  Everyone is waiting for one person to look them in the eyes or send them a note or give them a nudge and say, “Hey, what’s your story?”

My thoughts and this note are scattered and not as neatly organized as I’d like, but I don’t care.  This online magazine means the world to me, but more importantly, your stories and courage and creativity mean the world to me.

Here’s to endurance, passion, and strength — the qualities of a red bird.  Thank you for making Little Red Bird Press Online Magazine a reality.

Your Publisher,

Brooke Ignet Hocker