Cherubs tell their stories

Write Off taught me the meaning of true journalism

DWiener-experience 2

Kristina Karisch stands on stage in Fisk 217, sharing her Write Off piece with an audience full of cherubs.

I cry easily.

My friends tease me for tearing up during sad songs and for bawling my eyes out at the end of movies. Sitting in Fisk 217 during the first week of Write Off presentations, I felt the tears begin to well up. Cherubs were taking turns standing behind the podium and sharing their stories. It was no one story in particular that set me off. Some were happy, some sad, some exciting, some frightening. With each story, I learned about a cherub’s life. These kids were just like me, yet they had the courage to open up and share their thoughts and emotions with a room full of strangers.

They articulated parts of their lives that had gone untold. They recounted moments that were honest and raw. Everyone who spoke had written with such precision and detail that I was able to live the moment with them. Their broken hearts were my broken heart. Their proud moments were my proud moments. Their uncertainty was my uncertainty. Week after week I was amazed by the talent of my fellow cherubs. Each person told a story and in that moment, I was a part of other people’s lives.

During the the fourth week of Write Off, I had a realization. All the people speaking were masters of communication, transporting me to a different place and time. But not everyone is able to do that. Not everyone can open up and tell the world about themselves. They just don’t know how. As a journalist, it is my job to tell other people’s stories. I have the ability, and therefore the duty to help people express themselves. Listening to cherubs talk about their lives reminded me that everyone has a voice. Some people just need a little help finding it.