Excerpt from my 12/20 Newsletter:
And I thought Star's world was a strange one! Our world has been rocked by so much lately, for some of us more than others. Suddenly, we're supposed to "never forget" this and "never forget that." I'm starting to worry the list of things we should never forget is going to become too long to remember. Still, I have a feeling it will be impossible to forget and not to feel for those who have been directly affected by giant storms, by economic pitfalls, and by horrific shootings. My own world and the editing schedule for Risktaker took a hit from weeks without power and from personal unexpected events. Rest assured, Risktaker will be available soon, but reading the sequel to Treehugger is surely the least of the hardships folks are going through these days!
So what do we do in times like these? We try to focus on the good that comes out of evil. We revel in people doing good for others. We can use bitter events as an opportunity to teach our kids to be generous. We come together to participate in and watch a huge concert). During the 121212 concert, I was so proud of my daughter who donated $50 toward Hurricane Sandy Aid. (She has to separate her allowance into savings, spending, and donation piggy banks.) So she made a donation, and I could see how good she felt about herself. And I felt good about having such a great kid. Then I felt upset again that the donation was needed in the first place. And what can we do about Newton? Nothing will ever fill the holes left in that town's hearts. But how good it feels to see people trying! Whether we try via prayers, donations, lending an ear, or holding a candle, we all have the power to make bitter tragedies at least bittersweet, because plain old sweet just isn't going to happen. My town asked everyone to shut off their Christmas lights last night as a message to Newtown that they aren't alone in the darkness. I drove through town choked up--that bittersweet feeling again. More importantly, tragedies are opportunities to make changes in laws, policies, building codes, technology, and hearts--another way of changing bitter to bittersweet--and perhaps more plain old sweet in the future.
As much as I love reading and writing fantasy about heroes and heroines, when you see real life heroes at work, there is no comparison, is there? Suddenly, Katniss Everdeen pales when held up to Victoria Soto (teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary). Suddenly, people like my friend Stefany, who give so much of their time and love to those who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy, make Harry, Ron, and Hermione look like amateurs. The truth is, planet Earth is not always as terrible as Star of Treehugger thinks it is. We need to be sentinels to our own planet who fight to help the good outweigh the bad, and we can be.
Obviously, 2012 has been a bittersweet year for many. My wish for my readers, friends, and family is to make the '13' in 2013 become one lucky number. I wish you all good health, happiness, and good fortune. And when the rough stuff gets too much, pick up a fantasy book for a short escape. Thanks to the boom of independent publishers, there are many good books out there that would never have seen the light of day before. Not because they are bad--but because they might not fit a current market profile. So take advantage of the fact that there is a lot of different stuff out there to enjoy these days: Read an independent author!
PS: After writing this, I came across more ideas for helping in times of tragedy. In the hopes that they will be inspirational to all of us, here are some links:
Happy Life Post (KSL TV)