Sunday, April 7, 2013
Somehow in the midst of all my writing and editing and promotion and real life, I sort of forgot that I wrote a difficult book. I mean I know I wrote an edgy book with swearing and sex and things that some people don't like to have in their YA, but I also wrote a DIFFICULT book that people are going to have thoughts on. And the great thing about people having thoughts is that ideally, those thoughts lead to good conversations and good dialogue and critical thinking around the issue of rape.
And some of those conversations have started already, because, well, advanced reader copies exist. And some of those conversations have been hard and have made me have to think very hard about my convictions and what I believe. Which is AWESOME. I hope people keeping asking me questions and sending me letters. I won't always have the answers. In truth, I say, "I don't know" more often than just about anything in my life. But even with hard questions, the juice is worth the squeeze.
Here's what I've learned in my life:
1. Humans are complicated and messy and make good choices and bad choices and generally want to be better, but sometimes just aren't. For whatever reason.
2. Good-hearted people are out there. Counselors, teachers, friends. They want to help. They can't solve every problem. They won't have all the answers, but as Keith Nelson said in Some Kind of Wonderful (yes, I'm old and I'm referencing a John Hughes movie), "The minute we stop thinking someone is out there for us, it's over, isn't it?" I'm grateful for those people in my past and present. I would be lost without them. I hope everyone realizes that they are not alone.
3. Everyone is doing the best they can. Really.
Today in church, we talked about Gideon, and the angel finding him in the cave and saying, "Hail fierce warrior" and Gideon looking around and being like, "Who me? You can't mean me because I'm a dude hiding in a cave. I'm weak and I'm part of a weak clan, and we're so far from warriors, you don't even know." And of course, we then got into a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr. feeling like he didn't have the courage to keep going when his life was being threatened. Then the conversation evolved into how to be our best selves, how to be fearless when it is sometimes really HARD. And it was a perfect message because it reminded me why I wrote a difficult book that people were going to have thoughts about. I'll never be a fierce warrior. I wrote a little book. I'm not a world leader or an agent of cultural change. I'm just a writer who had something to say that hopefully will mean something to someone. I have no agenda beyond wanting people to talk to each other about the issue. Because it's in those conversations that we end up feeling so much less alone.
So go be fearless. Make mistakes. Lean on those who love you. And do the best you can. Always.