The Nightingale

The new Awakened Voices blog

As an extension of the Awakened Voices literary magazine, we seek to provide a platform for even more writers to share their voices. The collection of writing will compliment the biannual Awakened Voices publication and offer more frequent published pieces every month of the year.

On the blog, we will be publishing fiction, non-fiction, essays, resources, and reviews written by members of the Awakenings community. As always, Awakenings seeks to make visible artistic expression on the topic of sexual violence that is survivor-focused and works towards healing.

Like the magazine, our blog is home to many genres from different voices and experiences. We hope you will be interested in submitting your own work and contributing to our growing family of Awakenings authors.

We kicked off this blog in December 2018 with articles from Awakened Voices’ and Nightingale Editor Megan Otto and writers Kelsey May, Taylor Finn, and Katie Gezi. From here on out we will be posting once every other week.

Our newest posts:

Meredith Lindgreen and Ami J. Sanghvi

Bodily Authority

One trauma folds into another as Meredith Lindgreen explores loss after a miscarriage and an experience with sexual violence. She meditates on a lack of authority or autonomy within her body, and she explores the un-reality that comes from grief in all its different...

Aladdin

Ami J. Sanghvi knows how deep and true the love of our animals can be, and how it helps us understand our own inherent worthiness of love. With earnest adoration, she writes of the lasting healing effects that come of loving and being loved well. In response to our...

Shadows of Darkness

"Shadows of Darkness" highlights the un-realities of experiencing an assault, especially when the violence comes from a close relation. With eyes closed, Charity Marie's escape in darkness feels like it shouldn't be more than a dream -- which proves the difficulty of...

The Girl in the Mirror

Danielle Hark responds to our September prompt with a piece about reclaming vital pieces of herself – her body, her skin, and her reflection. She feels distance from her own body, but by challenging herself to feel compassion for her reflection, she acknowledges the...

Reclaiming the Eastland

The theme of reclaiming is examined with a wider lens in this piece by Jean Cozier, the founder of Awakenings. She writes about the Eastland tragedy that occured in Chicago -- specifically, the near-forgotten women on the ship and the ways they suffered due to the...

Let Me Tell You About Hazel

"Let Me Tell You About Hazel" holds a meta-narrative, a story inside a story -- we meet J. Askew and we also meet Hazel, their fictional character. By telling us about Hazel, Askew shares how writing Hazel's story has helped them live in their own story. The...

Beastman

With a compelling voice in a powerful story of experience with pedophilia, Jackie Bluu surges forward with a righteous desire for her trauma to be recognized and known. The piece doesn't hide or sugar-coat; Bluu offers a clear view of her years enduring violence and...

Reclamation

Rev. Dr. Barbara Edema reframes the concept of gaining back what was "lost" in trauma in a way that allows for new gentleness and self-compassion. The piece touches on the valid difficulties of reclamation as a survivor, and also the true inherent ownership of any...

A Drowning at Dog River

Kim Conrey examines sexual violence in the context of the social systems we're raised in that so often perpetuate it. Conrey bravely shares her story of experiencing assault and also retrospectively acknowledges the beliefs her female peers had been taught that keep...

Six Ways to Set A Bad Example

These vignettes by Carly Noble illustrate the ways in which the world around young women, including the people in their lives who should be protecting them, can let them down. Each of the six examples in this piece represent common, recognizable perpetuations of rape...

Stressure

 A contribution to our July prompt, Rev. Dr. Barbara's word "stressure" comes from others telling a survivor how to heal, thinking they know best. Sometimes recognizing and fighting "stressure" means defending oneself against people who try to "help" in misguided,...

In November

Karissa skillfully writes about the experience of living as a silent survivor and, when she felt ready, breaking that silence. With "In November," she illustrates the process of enduring violence while not feeling able to speak out about the complicated nature of...

Vulification

In this response to our July prompt, D.A. Simants creates a new word to describe a perpetrator's act of weakening and causing harm. Although the word shares a root with "vulnerable," Simants skillfully adjusts the perspective of this meaning of weakness and pain to...

Bad Dreams

This letter by Addison Post, a response to our June prompt, opens in a version of reality that's difficult to interpret -- a dream. Post, in their letter to their assaulter, acknowledges the difficulty of coming to terms with violence when its source is someone...

When The Fairy Tale Ends

Dr. Reverend Barbara Edema revisits The Nightingale with a piece that adds to our prompt to retell fairy tales and myths. She compassionately acknowledges the difficult reality of survivor's experiences in comparison to the uncomplicated fairy tales we're used to....

Kills 99.9% of Germs

Jorie Rao delves skillfully into the aftermath of an assault. The piece explores the tiny sensory details that form whole memories and how those memories can grow into large parts of ourselves. Here, the smell of soap in a bathroom takes Rao's readers through a...

Held

Take a journey through Kimberly Cunningham's poetic piece as she shares her arc and offers help and healing to others. Cunningham uses rhythm in the piece to carry readers through her journey from abuse to survival. She offers her discovery of her own power and a...

This is a Normal Bus Ride

This skillful piece by Allison Linne highlights not only the experience of sexual violence, but also all the complicated emotions that come after. Linne tells the all-too-common story of feeling isolated as a survivor in a world that overlooks this experience. Small...

Easter Women

There is a consistent narrative throughout history of women not being believed or taken seriously, but the truth has always been that women's and survivors' stories are crucial. The story of the Easter Women is as powerful for women of thousands of years ago as it is...

Dad

Sandra Shaw Homer takes us through the complicated years of her childhood with grace and skill. It's a piece that speaks to the prevalence of sexual violence in domestic, everyday settings, and it also provides a powerful example of the ways in which survivors can...