Wadadli Pen has been alive and kicking for 10 years. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the time and energy to put into it, and to know if the impact is worth the effort. The enthusiasm of past finalists – Lia Nicholson, Latisha Walker-Jacobs, and Angelica O’Donoghue – in taking on the role of media ambassadors, volunteering to assist with launching the Wadadli Pen 2014 Challenge at the start of January with appearances on various TV and radio programmes, was reassuring in this regard. And then there’s this note from past finalist Liscia Lawrence. It gives not only reassurance …it made me smile, and tear up. I want to thank Liscia for sharing. Have a read and if you know any boy or girl with a story in their heart, perhaps locked so deep they might not even know it’s there or are perhaps too reticent to let it out, encourage them to write and submit. The deadline is January 31st 2014. – Joanne C. Hillhouse, founder and coordinator of Wadadli Pen
By Liscia Lawrence, special to Wadadli Pen
Before the Wadadli pen, I would have never thought that anyone would be interested in anything I had to say, I mean who would want to listen to the ramblings of a little child. In growing up I was always reserved, a shy kid I’d say who preferred to be on the sidelines looking in. I always felt as if I didn’t fit into this world like no one understood me, the world was such a confusing place back then. I’ve always had a very active imagination but was too afraid to express myself meaning I kept everything bottled up inside to a point where I felt as if my head would explode. At one point my reality and fantasy worlds became intertwined, I was overwhelmed by something I did not understand – my own brain. For years my mind never came to a comma let alone a full stop. When I first heard of the competition I got really excited and I remember thinking “wow that sounds great I should enter” but then I thought what would I write about?, Out of the thousands of students who would enter the competition what made me or my story so special that anyone would want to read it? Through the encouragements of my past English teacher I entered my first piece anyway. With my expectations very low, imagine my surprise when I found out I had gotten honorable mention and there I was thinking that I didn’t have anything to share that was worth sharing. By the next year I had more confidence and I entered again with my short story entitled “Misinterpreted” where I placed third. Wadadli pen opened the door to my creativity, it inspired me to let go of my fears and speak out, and most of all it helped me to channel all the energy I had by simply putting pen to paper giving something a narrative shape and in so doing I began to believe in the shape of my life again, in beginnings, and middles, and endings. Thing is I was on a fast track to self-destruction, and when your mind crumbles to dust everything you thought you knew suddenly becomes something to question. You have to build reality up again. And the bricks we use to shape our realities are called words. The Wadadli pen competition gave me the opportunity to use my words and in so doing build my confidence, eliminated my fears, it gave me a voice and a whole new meaning to life. The world is a confusing place. Books are our maps. Without the ability to write, I’d quickly find myself very lost indeed.
Liscia’s story Misinterpreted won her third place in 2005; read it here
Liscia’s story The Day I saw Evil won her honourable mention in 2004; read it here