When Jacqui Banaszynski was in a famine camp in Sudan, she was charged with writing stories about a place she had never seen before - a world that seemed both foreign and frightening. Each day, she witnessed 100,000 people desperate for water, sick, hungry, dying. Each night, she would crawl into her cot and try to drown out the sounds of the people around her, yet one night she heard something different. She heard singing. She immediately began to investigate and after asking several translators, she discovered that she was hearing storytelling. The nomadic people brought something with them as trudged from camp to camp looking for food and water. They brought their tradition of storytelling. Even in the face of death, they did not give it up. According to Banaszynski, it was how they carried their history, culture and law, determined to pass them from generation to generation. "Events pass, people live and die, life changes. But stories endure," says Banaszynski.
I first read her account of the Sudanese storytelling when we were beginning to talk about starting a magazine for women. As we tossed around the concept, we realized that we wanted more than a magazine that gave women advice on decorating, clothing, dating, and dieting. There is certainly nothing wrong with that particular concept, but we wanted to see what might happen if we published a magazine dedicated to sharing stories. Would women respond? If stories endure, then could we begin a magazine that would endure simply because we all desire to carry our history and culture along and share it with others as we journey through life?
We thought it was worth a try, so we began Mia magazine in June of 2009. And we're still publishing. So far, storytelling seems to have filled a niche for many women who were looking for a way to pass along what they have learned, what matters to them in life, how they have conquered fear, and learned what it means to be courageous. We believe that storytelling is art, and so we give women a change to tell their story through articles, photography, poetry, painting. The magazine continues to gain readers and writers as women send in their stories.
This blog is still evolving. We are looking for ways to create an extension of the magazine through what we publish here. It's still in the beginning stages, but we're eager to see what it becomes. We post a writing prompt each Monday morning, and we love to hear how you are using the prompts. Please give us feedback about what you would like to see this blog become. You can do that on our Contact Us page. As always, if you have a story to submit for the blog, we'll read it as if we are sitting down with you over a cup of coffee. We respect the courage it often takes to tell your story and we don't take for granted how challenging the writing process can be.
Welcome to the Mia blog. We love to find new ways to tell stories because we agree that when many other things pass away, our stories endure.