According to the press release for SPEAKING OUT:
This book, SPEAKING OUT: A Collection of Writings from Mercer County, was prompted by an experience in the classroom where poet Nikki Finny pointed out through her poetry the need for people to take responsibility for their own lives and their experiences by sharing them and refusing to give in to people who would take away our individual freedom to be who we want to be. In that classroom sat a young girl who idolized Ms. Finny, with her statuesque beauty and eloquent poetry. The girl tried to copy everything about this amazing presence: her walk, her hair, her voice, and her writing. However, that same girl walked out of that class, and out of high school as a graduate, only to be murdered by a relative later that summer, a victim of unspeakable sexual abuse. The experience has haunted this teacher: What did she not hear? What did she not understand about her own identity that enabled someone to so completely dominate her? It has remained an unfinished work in this teacher's mind, and the workshops that evinced this anthology were an effort to empower women in particular and all humans in general. We must be sensitive to the plight of those around us, and share our lives and beliefs in our own value so that they too can claim their God-given joy in living.
I am very proud of this book because it is a work from my community. The short stories and poems contained in this book were penned by students, teachers, and other enthusiast writers from my hometown. It is a wonderful collection and a great statement about the caliber of writers from Kentucky.