Chely Wright's 'My Moment' Underscores the Power Of Storytelling

by Dr. William Kapfer

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday June 23, 2022

Chely Wright
Chely Wright  

I just finished reading "My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves" — a powerful book of women's stories, sparked by my longtime friend, LGBTQ+ activist, author, and country singer Chely Wright. 

Unlike Chely's first book, her 2010 coming-out memoir entitled: "Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer" (later made into an award-winning documentary that I helped produce) "My Moment" showcases a collection of short essays from a variety of diverse voices, ranging from a single sentence to a few pages, each accompanied by a black-and-white portrait of the author. The voices in "My Moment" run the gamut of age, race, gender, ability and privilege. Its immense diversity offers numerous chances for readers to connect with the situations and people therein.

Chely Wright and Kristen Chenoweth
Chely Wright and Kristen Chenoweth  (Source: D Dipasupil--Getty Images)

Some of these vivid, emotional stories revolve around themes involving racism, sobriety, body shaming, coming out, motherhood and other eternal hot-button topics. And it came with no surprise that some of the accounts by figures from the worlds of entertainment and media involve harassment or callousness from those in power that spurred women to stand up for themselves—if not immediately, then later in their careers.
 
Although roughly half of "My Moment" is made up of stories from women who aren't "in the biz," figures from the worlds of entertainment and media are featured throughout, including musicians Brandi Carlile, Rosanne Cash, Cyndi Lauper, Reba McEntire and Chrissie Hynde, actors Cynthia Erivo, Debra Messing, Carol Burnett and Alicia Silverstone; and TV news personalities like Brooke Baldwin, Soledad O'Brien and S.E. Cupp.

Chely Wright and William Kapfer
Chely Wright and William Kapfer  

"It's not just a #MeToo book," Chely told me. "The genesis of the idea came about during the Christine Blasey Ford testimony, when I noticed my phone blowing up in a new and different way that I'd never experienced. It was sister, cousin, people I grew up with, artist friends, my friends in finance, and all these different pockets of friendships that I've had for a long time. Those text threads began to become something different in that Christine Blasey Ford moment where she raised her hand and just told it, with no motivation other than 'I have to say this out loud.' And so we all began to kind of talk about the many complexities of navigating the world as girls and women."

Indeed, this powerful collection is a natural extension of the #MeToo movement in that it piercingly reveals the interior experiences of women after they've inevitably been underestimated or hurt—the epiphany that the world is different than they thought it to be—and how they've used this knowledge to make change.

This book really hit home with me personally, as it underscores the true value of storytelling in our lives. Stories have been used to hand down learning and knowledge for thousands of years. Strong narratives engage our curiosity, emotions and imagination—and in some situations, like this one—challenged me to look at my own lived experiences through the lens of the question: What was the moment in your life when you were ready to fight for yourself?

Follow this link for more information on "My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves,"