How The Understanding Was Born
April 27th is National Tell A Story Day. The way I see it, there is no better day than today to share the story of how The Understanding was born.
I graduated college with a major in Creative Writing and a minor in Psychology. I had a horror book in the works—your typical “five teens are hunted by a monster” thing, with a dose of Nightmare on Elm Street. Dreams were a good way to provide characterization and psychological insight, I figured, so it wasn’t a big leap in logic for me to think “why not give the main characters mental issues to explore?”
Of course, I had to do research to make sure those issues were depicted accurately, and this is where I realized that the entertainment industry doesn’t generally do a good job—I’d wager that if it’s in the DSM-V, there’s probably a fictional bad guy whose bad guy-ness is blamed on it. I don’t remember my exact thought process, but the end result was that I went from writing a standard horror story to mixing writing with stigma-busting. I’ve had experience with stigma, so I was interested in this pursuit.
One day, I sent in some writing samples and was offered a job heading INCIGHT’s new startup program to further their mission of Unlocking The Potential of People. It was kind of rocky in the beginning, but eventually we decided on the startup being a magazine, finalized the magazine’s own mission, and set up a checklist for what each issue would include. I was already passionate about stigmas, so I extended that to the magazine.
The name? The Understanding.
The mission? To Push Perspectives in a Positive Direction.