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Occupy Writers

Not surprisingly, we at Open Letter/Three Percent are pretty big supporters of Occupy Wall Street and the whole Occupy Movement in general. So, although it’s not exactly translation related, I thought it would be worth mentioning the Occupy Writers site that writer Jeff Sharlet started and which now boasts a pretty huge, and star studded, list of writers.

Here’s a bit from the announcement I received from PEN America:

Founded on October 9, 2011, by writer Jeff Sharlet after a tweet with Salman Rushdie, and organized by Sharlet and journalists Kiera Feldman and Nathan Schneider, Occupy Writers seeks to celebrate and chronicle the progress of the unfolding movement. “Within a day of sending out our invitation, we were almost overwhelmed by writers. The usual suspects, who I was glad to see, but also many, many writers you wouldn’t think of as political. And they’re not – this is bigger than politics.”

Utilizing their web site, Occupy Writers intends to publish narratives of those writers who have visited Occupy sites throughout the globe. By gathering stories and personal accounts, Occupy Writers aims to harness the power of literary America to create a counter media where people can find documentation about the movement.

Writers’ work necessarily involves imagination, whether in the service of fictional worlds or of making stories about actual events. Occupy Writers acknowledges that the protesters of the growing Occupy movement are exercising a similar imagination in the pursuit of a more democratic culture. As writers whose livelihoods are enabled by the freedom of speech, they support the protesters who through peaceful means are raising their voices with creativity, wit, and passion, on Wall Street and beyond.

In terms of the stories and personal accounts, a couple worth checking out are the ones from Francine Prose and Lemony Snicket.

From “Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance”:

9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.

10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.

11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.

13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.



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