stranger than fiction

Imagine you did something illegal when you were seven years old. In point of fact, you didn’t even really understand that you did it. But, you did. Now imagine that, ten years later, someone told you you were going to lose everything you had ever known–your home, family, school and work–because of it. Are you imagining? How do you feel about that upheaval of life as you know it?

Now imagine that this isn’t imagination for thousands of people. And you will know why I have written the novel for young adults that I have and why I believe so much in getting it out there.

My characters are fictional. So, if you like, read the story of someone for whom this story is real.

Not everyone is going to like what the book has to say, though I try to be balanced. But I think that Melissa would.

so here’s my firepit candidate

I said I’d post my answers, and momma always taught me to do what I said I’d do. (The fact that I didn’t always listen could have affected a couple of job performances in the past. Mommas really do know these things.) So here they are:

  • What was your favorite assigned book from high school?
A tie between Merchant of Venice and Great Gastby. Sure, the first is not really a “book.” But I can still recite quite a bit of Portia’s mercy speech for you, if you like.

  • What was your least favorite/most detested/one you burned in the fire pit just as soon as you finished the final exam on that puppy?
Can you believe I don’t really remember? I did truly loathe anything Steinbeck. Oh, I know, I know. A Farewell to Arms. How repetitive and depressing can one man get?

  • And what book did you discover later in life that you learned to love or wished you had discovered earlier?

So many. It was not until freshman year of college that I discovered The Chronicles of Narnia (via my Jewish roommate–how funny is that?). I quickly made up for lost time.

A few years later, another friend introduced me to Anne of Green Gables. How did a girl who grew up devouring Little House books miss that? I adore Anne, and I think I gave birth to her as well.

A Wrinkle in Time. One of the best children’s books ever. Ever. And adult as well.

Finally, sometime in high school my brother gave me a book and told me, “This is the best book ever written. You have to read it.” I dutifully read a few chapters and said to myself, “This is the most boring book ever written. I could not finish it if you threatened to pull out all my teeth.” It was The Silmarillion, by J.R.R.Tolkien.

Years later, when the first Lord of the Rings movie was scheduled to appear, my husband, also a huge Tolkien fan, decided to read the books aloud to our girls. My husband. My brother. Must be a guy thing, right? After seeing the movie, I went home and read all three books straight through. They are now three of my top five favorite books of all time. That’s a pretty good standing for an author I considered boring as heck years ago.

So now you know my reading likes and dislikes. You also know, never judge a book by how you felt about it, or its author, a long time ago. Give everyone a second chance. Except James Joyce. I will never give him a second chance. One bout of torture in college was enough.

Anyone else brave enough to share?

better than colin

My husband is amazing. (Yes, he even beats out Colin Firth.) Why? Some time ago, I was talking with a person at our church about how the music was not really to my husband’s taste, but he loved it there anyway. The person looked at him, then responded, “Yeah, he looks more like an NPR kind of guy to me.” I laughed more than out loud. You could pretty much put that phrase on my husband’s tombstone. He is an NPR kind of guy.

But since our first day at the new church, he has never looked back in his enthusiasm, because he knew great things would happen there, and he wanted to be a part of that. I have always been rather amazed by that, but I have begun to realize how grateful I should be as well. I have a man willing to put aside his preferences, styles, and comfort zone for the greater good of his family and, ultimately, a lot of people who have been helped. That’s pretty cool, especially given that our generation is the most me-centered, my rights, my needs one I think has ever existed.

Yes, including the present young one. We (rightfully) decry the riots in London, but let’s face it, we are the generation that started the self-love fest. We’re kind of reaping what we sowed. On the whole, this upcoming generation is more generous of their time and money than we were. They have their issues, but they do care. In that way, they may resemble our fathers who fought in the Greatest Generation than us. Thank heaven.

So today, I’m thankful for a sacrificial man. What about you?