An aspiring author confronts the literary demons of the world and sets off in search of an agent.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Writing to Save a Life

What if you had to write a story to save a life? That was the situation I faced a number of years ago while working on a project to educate the children of migrant farmworkers about the dangers of pesticide poisoning.

I remember reading the testimony of one farmworker: “One time there was a bunch of little kids playing with a pesticide can, and it had been raining, and the children they don’t know very much, and they were playing in this, and I don’t know how it happened, probably the child drank the water and a few hours later she died.”

In the face of such heartbreak, it takes faith to believe in the power of a story to make a difference. Still, I chose to do that and the result was a comic book character, Digger McGee, “the mysterious champion of farmworkers.” Originally written for use in New York State, the package was used in several other states as well as adapted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for use in English-speaking Africa.


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