Last weekend, I had the chance to hear Ying-Ying Chang talk about her new book, The Woman Who Could Not Forget. I had not heard of the book, but I knew Mrs. Chang was the mother of Iris Chang, an incredible author who wrote several books including the most definitive, well-documented (and readable) book on the rape of Nanking. Iris Chang suffered depression and shot herself in 2004.
Her mother, Ying-Ying, in an effort to squash rumors surrounding her daughter’s death, wrote a book. It’s a charming read, one that is so sad, yet so full of hope. She talks about Iris’s life as a child, a mother, a writer. One line stuck out for me in an e-mail Iris had sent her mother: “Words are the only way to preserve the essence of a soul.”
So true in many ways.
Iris Chang believed words were one way to be immortal—marveling at the works of Churchill and Darrow and Napolean. Another author believes that words are one way to keep the soul alive. Masha Hamilton, who has also written many wonderful books-- my favorite being the Camel Bookmobile—started a writing project a little over two years ago to give Afghan women a voice.
I've been following the project since its infancy, marveling at the stories these women share, despite the danger to themselves and their families, despite the long and arduous journeys they must often make to get their words out. This month, I am privileged to get to work with some of these writers.
Please stop by
Afghan Women Writers Project
, see what they’re writing about, and leave a comment or two. Your comments and encouragement mean the world.