Talking Story

SD_web_coverAnthologies are the ultimate pupu platter, a delightful cornucopia of unconventional flavors and textures served in bite-sized morsels. Meant to be shared, they are the perfect literary tray from which to sample new writers and new voices, to explore new worlds, to boldly go where no reader has gone before—no, wait a minute; that’s Star Trek. But the principle’s the same.

Like all origin myths, the humble beginnings of the Secret Door Society and the creation of its first anthology, Secrets & Doors, began with a ragtag group of over-caffeinated sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts who saw through the shimmer of a transporter’s beam and the sheen of an elven blade the barest glimmer of a true storyteller’s power to change the world.

Don’t believe me? Consider the impact of the daily news, advertising, history, religion, movies, novels, and art in all its forms. Do you deserve a break today? Notice that backpack unattended on the subway and get a little nervous? What about the homeless man over there lying on the bench or the stranger stranded with a flat tire along the side of the road?

All of these scenarios trigger stories within us, stories about enjoying a burger instead of cooking, the dangers of terrorism, and even what it means to have charity. We internalize these stories until they literally and figuratively shape our perceptions of the world—and perceptions determine behavior.

From our earliest memories it is through stories that we learn to see the world clearly, both the grittiness of reality and a hint of the possible other. In stories our imaginations are engaged, and we begin to dream of a different sort of reality, a reality where space travel is practical, where fairies grant wishes, and people celebrate diversity instead of squashing it.

When enough people hold the same dream, that dream can transform the world. The end of slavery. The right to vote. The right to worship or not worship according to the dictates of one’s heart. The right of a child to be raised in love and not anger. The list is endless, but each begins with a vision of a different future. No wonder John wrote, “In the beginning there was the Word.”

That motley crew of writers meeting at Barnes & Nobles and Starbucks were soon joined by editors, publishers, and illustrators in a clandestine cabal and thus the Secret Door Society was formed. Together they realized that through the power of words not only could people be entertained, but a greater good could be served.

That’s why the proceeds of their first anthology, Secrets & Doors, benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The JDRF is dedicated to eradicating Type 1 Diabetes, a terrible medical condition that currently has no cure. T1D kids face a lifetime of insulin injections and blood test monitoring along with increased health risks that can lead to blindness, amputation, and early death. 100% of the net profits from the sale of Secrets & Doors in both eBook and paperback go toward the fight against juvenile diabetes.

The power of words can change the world.

As Captain Picard says, engage.

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