P.O.W.ER comes from watching a world which seems determined to undervalue half of its population—the female half. It also comes from a basic question that has always confused me: why are people in power so afraid of educated women? There’s evidence of this in many countries, where one of the first things they do to control the female population is limit access to education. While the United States hasn’t gone that far, there is an undercurrent of distrust of education that permeates our society. There are also many ways of limiting women’s ability to access education and succeed that occur without explicitly denying people the right to learn. I fear where our country may be heading. I see it in my own students—who often have to choose between family and school, or who simply don’t see how important an education and a voice are to their lives.
P.O.W.ER also comes from my belief that change will not be achieved through violence, but through creative thinking and cooperation, between men and women and people of all cultures and races.
The story itself blends my fascination with the possibility of psychic abilities in the human brain, and my belief in the power of the arts. I was reading a book called The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. (which has nothing to do with psychic ability but is an interesting discussion of how women’s brains change throughout their lifetime) and a question popped into my head: what if our brains are capable of more than we know? Somehow my brain took that thought and ran with it—asking more questions that could only be answered through story. What if women’s brains developed faster than men’s? What if a woman had the power to write things into reality? What if powerful men knew that women’s brains would develop faster, and that is why they want to control women? What will happen if women are not allowed to read or write or have any voice in society? Would people find other ways of communicating if they were forbidden access to the written word?
The answer to the last question reminded me of another book, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. In that book, women in China communicated through messages hidden on fans. The Chinese alphabet, or Japanese kanji, convey meaning in a different way than English letters. They combine images and strokes in ways that make meaning. I realized that, if I couldn’t use words, I would find visual ways to communicate with others. I do it all the time as a theatre director—creating pictures with actors that convey more meaning than just the words themselves. Communication through the arts can be a powerful tool to make the world a better place—so suddenly I had my way of enabling women to communicate in a world that restricts them on all levels.
I can’t tell you when this story began to fully gel. I was taking a course through Long Ridge Writer’s Group where I had to propose several options for a full length novel that I wanted to work on. This was one of them, and my instructor thought it sounded like the most viable and approachable. From there, I began to sketch out the plot. However, as I explored this story, I found new characters, unexpected twist, and surprises along the way. I kept asking questions and finding the answers through story. I don’t know if I understood my own meaning fully until the novel was done.
This is a book about celebrating individual strengths, and supporting each other’s abilities. It is a book about an ideal—one that I hope, for my daughter’s sake, we can someday live up to.
Lisa A. Kramer has spent her life learning, creating, and exploring the world through theatre, writing, traveling and collaborating as an educator. She has lived in nine states and two countries (including Japan). She holds a PhD in Theatre for Youth, an MFA in Theatre Directing, and a BA in English Language & Literature and Theatre. She has published non-fiction articles in journals specializing on Theatre for Young Audiences, as well articles aimed at young people for Listen Magazine. In addition to young adult novels, she has ventured into the world of short stories, and has stories for adults in several of the Theme-Thology series published by HDWPBooks.com and available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. When not writing, Lisa shares her love of the arts and the power of story as co-founder of heArtful Theatre Company and as adjunct faculty at various colleges and universities. She also spends time enjoying New England with her husband, daughter, and two dogs from her home base in central Massachusetts.
Her latest book is the YA speculative feminist fiction, P.O.W.ER.
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