VIRTUAL WORLD – Tomorrow’s Promise: A New Beginning was released this week with the simple click of the mouse. Seventeen writers from across the US and the Caribbean contributed to the story which looks into the lives of women coming in and leaving Hope House, a domestic violence shelter.
The idea began simply as a forum exercise by Kyt Williams-Gardner (Treasure Hunter), business owner and grandparent from Tacoma, WA. She was encouraging others to write a story with her, everyone contributing only about three or four lines at a time. Within two months, the story developed into a full blown discussion about relationships, the roles of men and women, how women should fight back and encouragement to reclaim their lives and love again.
The story can be read at http://tomorrowspromise.wordpress.com and can also be downloaded there in its entirety as a PDF.
“We wanted others to enjoy the project and hopefully learn from it as much as we did writing it,” said Nerissa Golden (Truly Caribbean Woman), who designed the blog and contributed to the story. “As someone who has personally experienced domestic violence, women need to know they are not alone and it can be overcome.”
“Collaborating with all of these amazing people, gave me a chance to fight off some old demons,” said Kyt Williams-Gardener. “Having lived to overcome the violence and reclaim my life, it was an opportunity to talk about it openly and inspire others that they can and will do the same.”
The story quickly found its own fan base across the internet and many looked forward to the twice weekly updates of completed chapters. Readers fell in love with the heroes Hunter and Grey and cheered on the heroines Trish and Bren as they stepped out to start new lives and confront their pasts.
Trish was the director of Hope House, which she began after fleeing a life of abuse from the hands of her husband. Like many women she jumped headlong into helping others but leaving areas of her own life unfulfilled. Throughout the story the authors created Leah an older woman with grandchildren who finally decides to walk away after almost 30 years of abuse; Monica who was brutalized by her spouse; Sabrina and Wendy and other amazing women showing incredible strength and support for each other.
“I joined the project after it was well on its way but I knew it was something I needed to contribute to,” said Malakia Thomas, (a US Air Force Officer, residing in Chesapeake Beach, Md). I jumped right into a powerful chapter of Leah’s life — as she shared and reminisced on the crossroads moment that brought her to Hope House.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to say nor did I have any particular direction, I just wrote what came to me — I found it much easier to stand outside myself (and be “in character”) and write from that perspective. I believe my hand was guided by the Spirit and my own desires to conquer… things I’ve witnessed and experienced as well as articulate my desires and struggles in life, love and religion/spirituality. I can identify with so much of the story; the characters of Tomorrow’s Promise represent bits and pieces of my past life as well as my hopes for the future. While the story was an absolute joy to write, I experienced such a range of emotion while writing and reading so it could definitely take an emotional toll here and there, as well, but it was all for a reason. More than anything, I’ve always wanted this story to touch others, even one person… if one person finds this tale brings them a measure of hope — that would make me extremely happy.”
Both men and women contributed to the story. David Frank of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania saw the story as a way to vocalize his concerns on abuse. “I know that this book will truly be an inspiration to women who have had to endure abuse, and will hopefully allow them to come out of their circumstances, and be made whole again,” the father of three girls and one son said. Monica Johnson, an entrepreneur in Detroit, Michigan said she wouldn’t want another woman to go through what she experienced and hopes the story can give others hope.
Information on all of the contributors is available on the blog at http://tomorrowspromise.wordpress.com.
The story’s title was chosen after readers were asked to send in their suggestions. Tomorrow’s Promise: A New Beginning is actually a merging of two titles as they tied for first place.
“There were so many great ideas given and we decided to name each chapter to use as many of the suggessted titles as we could,” said Williams-Gardner.
“We hope everyone will invite their friends to read the story, forward it to friends and family. We are also adding tools to help women through the process and to inspire them not to give up but to love themselves enough to get out and get help,” said Golden an author who lives in the Caribbean. “Women who have never experienced it can often be the biggest stumbling blocks to another woman’s healing. So it is a great way for people to understand what is happening in the minds of the women and be more compassionate in helping them through the process of recovery.”