I’ve been thinking a lot about bravery lately. I didn’t even realize I was thinking about it till the other night when I was watching “The Hunger Games” on DVD with my husband, who hasn’t read the books or seen the movie–so it was like experiencing it all over again, through fresh eyes. Needless to say, my heart was pounding. Katniss is so strong in the movie, so brave for her sister and Peeta. And Peeta is no coward himself.
But while I was watching, I also felt torn, because I kept wanting to reach for the paperback sitting on the coffee table in front of us–”Pieces of Us,” by Margie Gelbwasser, whom we’ll be interviewing this month. I wanted–no, needed–to know what was going to happen in that book! I don’t want to give too much away here, but I’ll just say that POU is a very brave work of fiction, with brave characters as well. But it’s not brave in a blockbuster way. It’s brave in a quieter, subtler, frankly far scarier way, as it ruminates on the causes and effects of psychological and sexual abuse in the lives of four damaged teens.
Which also got me thinking about “The Vodka Drinker,” the first piece YARN is publishing this fall. It’s a shockingly honest essay about drinking by a college student. It took guts to write that essay, and send it out for publication–even if we are publishing it anonymously, at the writer’s request. These are things that need to be said, and read, and it doesn’t really matter who says them, though it does matter who reads them.
Which then got me thinking about all the other acts of bravery going on around me right now: YARN incorporating as a non-profit organization (oh yeah, more on that soon!); my 2 year old daughter Elena going to school for the first time (she didn’t think anything of it, but my husband and I had to man up!); me writing my book about my successes and failures as a writer (plenty more about that also coming soon, too); and, of course, bringing all of you fresh YARN week after week, hoping you’ll like it.
Bottom line: real life can be way scarier than dystopia, scarier than the worst fantasies we can come up with for humanity. Why? Because real life is actually happening. There are things we experience right here, at school and at home, that are terrifying and deserve our best, bravest selves (I’m going to remind myself of that every time I want to crawl under the covers with a bowl of ice cream).
YARN makes it easier for me to face all the situations that require my nerve. With this awesome staff and our loyal readers, I feel ready to meet my challenges head-on. I hope that you, Readers, also find some courage here at YARN, in what we publish and in the opportunities we offer you to join the conversation, like with our amazing Blockbuster-Free Summer Reading Exchange (THANK YOU ALL for participating!!). I hope you’ll share this list of excellent books with your friends, and continue letting people know about YARN.