Carmel Mawle, Writing for Peace Founder and President

Carmel Mawle, Founder and President Writing for Peace
Carmel Mawle, Founder and President Writing for Peace

Burnout has been described as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that results from constant or repeated emotional pressure associated with an intense, long-term involvement with people. It is characterized by feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and by a negative view of self and negative attitudes toward work, life and other people. Jenaro, Flores, and Arias (2007)describe burnout as “an answer to chronic labor stress that is composed of negative attitudes and feelings toward coworkers and one’s job role, as well as feelings of emotional exhaustion” (p.80).

Mental Health Resources & Advocacy welcomes Carmel Mawle, Founder and President of Writing for Peace. In her 2015 Writing for Peace Progress Report Carmel Mawle shares Writing for Peace news, introduces new Writing for Peace  Adviser Victoria Hanley, shares Victoria Hanley’s writing exercise Peace of Mind and answers the question, “How do you keep from getting burned out?”

Carmel Mawle, Founder and President of Writing for Peace

One of the questions I am most frequently asked by fellow activists is, “How do you keep from getting burned out?” I always struggle a bit with this one. Like many artists I know, I’ve never found a way to face the suffering of the oppressed, the groaning of this beautiful planet earth, without internalizing that pain. As activists, we have different burn-out thresholds, and our resilience may rise or fall depending on health or other stress factors. We do need to make decisions about energy expenditures, and be aware of those times when our reserves are low. But, if you are lucky enough to have an artform in which you can express that awareness, if you can take the pain and suffering of the world and create art with the intention of shaking the imperial foundations and corporate pillars, then you might have already learned one of the hidden joys of artivism – pour your heart and soul in, and it fills you up. Creation heals us and increases our capacity. As Kurt Vonnegut put it, “Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.”

Writing for Peace was founded on the premise that the very act of writing is transformative. We experience that shift when we read, slipping into a character’s mind, like walking in another man’s moccasins, to think their thoughts, and understand their reasoning. Imagine how exponentially greater the transformative impact when we are creating the story, researching the environmental, familial, or political pressures crushing down on our characters, and imagining our way into their consciousness. This is empathy, the seed of compassion, and the foundation of a more peaceful world.

One of the coolest aspects of Writing for Peace is when we check in with our young writers a year later. We ask them how their writing is coming along, and where they see it going in the future. This year we also thought it would be interesting to ask a more philosophical question: What does “writing for peace” mean to you? The answers are always moving and inspiring. For those of us who need the periodic boost to the energy reservoir, it’s helpful to shift our focus to where something positive is happening. Here are some examples:

Writing for Peace holds a special place in my heart because it’s really the first time I had written a fictional piece that digs so deeply into the struggles and wonders of cultural identity. It gave me the valuable opportunity to think about what peace really means, and how to apply the concept to a cultural perspective. Writing for Peace was truly a catalyst for my passion for writing, and I am honored to have participated in it. One of the best things about it is that it is open to the entire world; anybody can submit a piece of writing, and anybody can be encouraged to explore our world’s cultural diversity. Some of the most inspirational world leaders have all started out writing pamphlets or articles for a certain cause because to them and to me, writing has always had the power to move minds. Writing for Peace can truly make future world leaders.

~ Angela Yoon, Grade 10, Gangnam-gu, Seoul-si, South Korea

The next major phase of my writing came in the form of college essays. I carried the same lessons I learned from Writing for Peace—incorporating personal examples, evoking pathos, and writing with passion—into my college essays. The consummation of my college writing/application process occurred when I was accepted into Cornell University, where I will be writing the next chapter of my life.

~ Ben Gershenfeld, Grade 11, Voorhees, New Jersey, USA

To me, the moment that I was silent with incredulity at the sight of my name on the award-winning essays of Writing for Peace Young Competition, was one of important milestones in my journey to become an international journalist. Writing For peace brings me a great deal of personal experiences and knowledge that at a certain extent dissolves my cultural preconception and at the same time boosts my self-confidence.

~ Yen Nguyen, Grade 10, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

I hope to continue to explore issues of current events and global citizenship through my writing. To me, Writing for Peace is a vessel for empathy between people who have little in common. It strives to break down barriers which we’ve erected over millennia, and I’m thrilled to be a small part of it. 

~ Dash Yeatts-Lonske, Grade 10, Rockville, Maryland, USA

 In the future, I plan to continue writing and using this art form as a mechanism for spreading messages of peace.

~John Vernaglia, Grade 8, Medford, Massachusetts, USA

When I talk with our readers and advisers, I hear it again and again, “These young writers give me hope.” I feel the same way. How can we not be inspired by young writers who maintain their optimism despite what might be an unprecedented awareness of global crisis? But hope is a two-way street, a reciprocal commodity. While their optimism may give us hope, our faith in these young writers, our commitment to educate, support, and lift them up, also gives them hope. In the words of Cassidy Cole:

Writing for Peace, and all that it stands for, is what this world needs in the light of peace, happiness, equality, and a more desirable place. Just the pure existence of an organization that aims to create compassion and peace through creative writing gives me easeful thoughts for our future. Writing for Peace gives me hope and I am utterly inspired by its vision and what the organization does. This organization is the light of not only what lays on the other side, but the light that guides all us writers there.

~ Cassidy Cole, Grade 8, Denver, Colorado, USA

All of our 2014 winners’ work is featured, along with works from many of our advisers, and other established and emerging artivists, in our “Nature” edition of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. This beautiful book will be released a week from this coming Friday, on May 1st. Watch our blog, website, and Facebook page for information on how you can purchase your copy, and support Writing for Peace.

Writing for Peace News

Victoria’s Writing Tips~

Writing for Peace is pleased to introduce our newest adviser, Victoria Hanley. Victoria is an award-winning author, known for her exciting young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as her nonfiction books dedicated to developing the craft of writing. Victoria has offered to provide bi-monthly writing tips for our young writers (and the  rest of us). Thank you, and welcome to Writing for Peace, Victoria!

Writing Exercise for Peace of Mind

By Victoria Hanley

No one else will read what you’re about to write. This is because you need to know you can confide in yourself no matter what you have to say.

Write about something that’s troubling you. Let the emotion pour through you, and use your strongest verbs and most illuminating adjectives to describe how you feel and what’s going on. When you’re done, hit the delete key–or if you’ve written on paper, feed the page through a shredder or tear it up.

When at least two hours have passed, write again, and this time write anything that occurs to you that might be able to solve your problem.

Meet Victoria Hanley, Writing for Peace Adviser

By studying fiction, I’ve learned that a good story is built around conflict. However, a good life is built around peace.

~ Victoria Hanley

Victoria Hanley spent years preparing for a writing career by holding as many contrasting jobs as possible, from baking bread to teaching anatomy and hosting radio shows. She’s lived in California, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Oregon, and Colorado, and traveled throughout North America via plane, train, bus, car, and bicycle. Who knew she’d be the author of 7 books published in 12 languages!

Victoria’s novels have won many honors and awards at home and abroad, and inspired two nonfiction writing books: Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write, andWild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market. She teaches writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver and at Northern Colorado Writers in Fort Collins.

Learn more about Victoria’s books, read her blog, download a free chapter of Wild Ink, and watch Victoria in action at

Writing for Peace May Day Events

  • 2015 DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts “Nature” Edition Book Release! Watch for news of the latest DoveTales, a truly extraordinary and beautiful edition of our annual journal.
  • 2015 Young Writer Winners Announcements! Find out what our prestigious judges (Antonya Nelson, Fiction; Steve Almond, Nonfiction; and Stephen Kuusisto, Poetry) have to say about our talented young writers!

Copyright © 2015 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Carmel Mawle is the founder of Writing for Peace, and serves as president of the Board of Directors. Carmel Mawle lives in Colorado, where she and her family enjoy hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Carmel Mawle has an English Literature Degree from the University of Washington, and a varied career that includes piano instruction, as well as operating a martial arts school, teaching women’s self-defense, child safety awareness, and traditional Hayashi-Ha Shito Ryu Karate.  She served as executive director of a youth orchestra, and as president of a chamber music organization.

Mawle’s work has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly Review, Contemporary World Literature, SPACES Literary Magazine, and Rocky Mountain Scribe Anthology. Her Pushcart nominated story, The Calisia, is forthcoming in KNOT Literary Magazine.

She is a member of the Denver Lighthouse Writers Workshop, where she is focusing on completing her first novel.

Links and Posts By Carmel Mawle:

Jamila, a short story featured in Smokelong Quarterly.

2013 New Year’s Reflections

SPACES State-of-the-Art Essay: In Defense of Childish Optimism

Transforming The World Through Social Media

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Janet Mock’s Story of Personal Transformation

Janet Mock has written a memoir of her life journey  in Redefining Realness, My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. Janet Mock has invited her readers into her life sharing detailed descriptions of childhood, puberty and teen years. Her story is shared with dignity, honesty and scholarship. Ms. Mock provides a wealth of information. Information which destroys prevailing societal transsexual mythology.

She shares what it is to live daily in a body you do not believe nor accept as your truth spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and physically. Ms. Mock does not paint herself as some tragic heroine but as an individual who knows who she is, was born to be. This is a book based on Ms. Mock’s experiences. Who can better tell one’s story than the person who has and is living it?  This is not a book fueled by tantalizing sensationalism. This is a text whose purpose is to enlighten. Ms. Mock continues to be embraced by many communities. However, it is the Black community who has and continues to champion her. The Black community sees her as a symbol of advocacy for equality, human and civil rights.

Janet Mock shares the politics and criminalization surrounding transsexual sex workers. In doing so we see the human being not a societal fantasy imagined and draped in judgement, racism and prejudice. She also shares perceptions of society’s heterosexual hierarchy. The belief that transsexuals specifically trans women are less than She goes on to provide statistical data of harassment, assaults and deaths of trans women. Trans women of color being the major targets and victims of these threats, assaults and deaths.

There has been conversations centered around competition between cis women and trans women. I’d like to dispel this myth. Cis women are not enemies of trans women and vice-versa.This is not and never has been a competition. Women whether lesbian, heterosexual, queer or trans are in a united fight for equality, and it’s crucial all women remain supportive of each other, especially women of color. Why? Because women of color specifically Black women remain the media and societal targets of misogynists. Males believing erroneously that Black women and women of color are easy targets and will not respond to their misogyny.

©Lorraine Currelley 2014. All Rights Reserved
It Got Better with Janet Mock

A little something extra. Sharing Youtube video, great interview!
Janet Mock, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love &…: via @YouTube

Art and Politics

Artist Soraya Nulliah On: Art, Apartheid, Women and Violence

In 2006, Indo-Canadian, feminist artist Soraya Nulliah held a solo exhibition titled ‘SHAKTI’ at the Nina Haggerty Centre in Edmonton, Canada. ‘Shakti’ is a Hindi

Anthology of Muse for Women (No to Violence against women)

This book is the maiden anthology of MUSE FOR WOMEN group initiated by Mutiu Olawuyi (JP).


Please note, the following lists are not comprehensive. Listed below are the
top 10 resources recommended by BSAS.

Top 10 books recommended by BSAS:

“African Americans and Child Sexual Abuse,”
by Veronica D. Abney

“Boys into Men: Raising Our African American Teenage Sons,” by Nancy Boyd-Franklin, Pamela A. Toussaint,
and A. J. Franklin

“Broken Boys/Mending Men: Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse,”
by Stephen D. Gruban-Black

“The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse,”
by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis

“I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault
and Abuse,” by Lori S. Robinson
and Julia A. Boyd

“Lasting Effects of Child Sexual Abuse,”
by Gail Elizabeth Wyatt

“No Secrets No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal from Sexual Abuse,”
by Robin D. Stone

“Racism & Child Protection: The Black Experience of Child Sexual Abuse,” by Valerie Jackson

“Sexual Abuse in Nine North American Cultures: Treatment
and Prevention,” by Lisa Aronson Fontes

“Stolen Women: Reclaiming Our Sexuality, Taking Back Our Lives,” by Gail Wyatt

To the Woman Who Gave Me Life, by Pamela Cunningham

Once upon a time, I was very angry, hurt, and scared of you. Once, I believed all those things you said about me. Once, I thought you were actually what a mother should be.

Then I met some beautiful women who showed me what love really is. How it should feel and how it should be. How it builds you up, not tears you down.

I know that you tried very hard to separate and destroy our family. I know that the illness in your mind made you behave this way. I know you could only work with what you had at the time.

I resented you for many years. I hated you. I held a grudge. I knew in my heart that there was no way that I could even think about forgiving you for what you had done to our family.

As many years have passed now I want you to know that I have forgiven you. I want you to know that I am very grateful to you. You gave me my life. You gave me.  two amazing sisters and two wonderful brothers. You helped us to learn so many things about reality and people. You gave us all brilliant minds. You taught us all how to be strong. Your mean ways taught us kindness and compassion. Your neglect taught us to pay attention to others. Your hateful words taught us a deep respect for showing courtesy. Your lies taught us honesty. Your mental illness taught us personal awareness.

When I was young, I couldn’t understand why you treated us so badly. As an adult, I figured out how important your presence has been to me. I know why, and I am so grateful to have learned all that I did from you so early on in life. That has enabled me to remember, to make peace with the past, learn from it, and now teach and inspire others. I may never have been able to accomplish all of this in one lifetime otherwise. I may never have tried to help anyone else.

Our family not only survived your drama. We also are thriving adults who only want the best for ourselves and each other. We are aware of our shared love for each other. We are becoming the family you tried to destroy and are living the lives that you tried to poison. We are better off without you now, but we are also better because of you.

I forgive you and I thank you for the lessons that you have taught me.Your birth child Pam Cunningham

To learn more about Pamela Cunningham Please visit her  website at: