Recently, a well-meaning, misguided friend informed me that these seven cities are really a very small town, and that this very small town is controlled by what she referred to as “the gatekeepers,” people of some vague authority who I need to please in order for this organization to meet its goals.
This conversation took place after I published my first post on this blog, which had apparently caused a bit of a stir in some circles. I think it’s important to note here that this well-meaning, misguided friend never questioned the veracity of my statements, only my wisdom in having expressed them. I told the truth and how I felt about it. This was not OK. In fact, this could ruin me. Our very existence was at stake!
One of the many advantages of being a writer and an artist is that you are free to have no faith in societal rules and norms. Most of us become artists because we figure out pretty early that those rules and norms are created to discourage us from becoming artists. Why? Because artists are here to cause a stir. We are here to tell the truth and how we feel about it. That scares the hell out of some people, and the myth of the gatekeepers is born.
Oh, and incidentally? Many of the people we hope to serve through Seven Cities Writers Project have been excluded from meaningful participation in this community due to the prevalence of myths just like this one.
This is the thing I wish I’d said to my mis-meaning, well-guided friend: They’re only the gatekeepers if you give them the key.