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~ Guest Writer, Grace Holtzclaw ~

I grew up on the American Dream…

… of picking up hitchhiker Jack Keroauc on the road and speeding down the highway to Las Vegas with Hunter S. Thompson. When I think about the canon of American authors who are represented in universities and throughout history, there is a heavy dependency on male voices. So, when I stepped into “the writer’s room” for the first time as a freshman english major last fall, you could imagine my surprise to be surrounded by women.

Maybe the reason that women have come forward to said “writer’s room” is because the American Dream looks different than ever before. For the first time, media and literature is being used to represent the female narrative. As my professor Kara Mae Brown puts it, “I think one of the takeaways from Me Too and Time’s Up is just how often women’s voices and women’s stories are ignored. When women write together, we change that. The women writers I know want to lift each other up. They want all of us to be heard.”

I have found this to be true when editing my roommate Emma’s short fiction, or when workshopping a screenplay with my good friend Cat. When women write together, there is a common desire to succeed. There is no sense of competition or “mean girl” antics but rather a shared appreciation for the truth. Kara Mae remarks, “Women have always been my best readers. In my experience, women approach a text differently than many men. There’s a sense of collaboration, of wanting our voices to be heard. It’s less competitive.”

All of this is to say that the industry and our world is changing.

I grew up with the idea that I’d have to fight with other women for the spot in the paper. After a year spent working with emerging female writers, reading the works of Ada Limon and Virginia Woolf, and collaborating with published professors, it’s clear that I was wrong. Not only have I created some of my best work with women, but I have made my best companions through writing. The bonds we share through literature today have the ability to create a room of opportunity for generations to come.

Grace Holtzclaw

Grace Holtzclaw has been meaning to hit the highway of journalism since her dad handed her a copy of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in 7th grade. As of late, she’s been wandering around Santa Barbara getting a degree in Writing and Literature at UCSB and hosting a Friday morning radio show at the college station. She hopes to dig deeper into the world around her and continue to discover the countless stories in her everyday life.

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