I had a hard time blogging this month. My emotions and energy have been sucked into the disaster of the US election, and the fears in its wake. But this is not the venue for those details, for the thoughts bouncing around in my head, or the concerns keeping me awake.
So what is it the venue for?
Maybe, this month, for praise of fiction. For reminding myself how much a good story can do for me. I’ve read a lot of books this week – a mix from the sweet to the meaningful to the sad. I was caught by a surprise ending in Rival Poet by Ingela Bohm, amused by time spent with Vic and Jacob in PsyCop Briefs by Jordan Castillo Price, and pulled into the pain and love and injustices of our modern world in Heidi Cullinan’s Santa Baby. I was reminded once again that we need all the stories.
There were times when I wanted sweetness, to wash away pain. There were times I wanted angst, to make the happy ending deeper. There were times when I desperately needed a laugh.
Sometimes as a writer, I look at what I’m doing and it seems frivolous. Here I am writing genre romance, while the world changes. But then I had someone whose world view is very different from mine say, “Keep writing.” She told me that the thing that moved her from the isolated bubble of a narrow conservative community, to an appreciation of LGBTQ rights, was M/M fiction. She cited John and Ryan, in The Rebuilding Year, as two characters who helped her see that gay men are just people, with lives and kids and hopes and dreams and fears.
Books matter. Today, I’ll be posting another book drive for an LGBTQ YA center on my Goodreads group. Because handing a book with positive LGBTQ characters to a teenager says “We see you. Here is someone like you who is real, and important, and the hero of their story.” The members of that group sometimes say, in their introductions, how a particular book gave them a sense of community and hope.
So, among the other important parts of our day-to-day lives, let’s keep reading. Keep writing. Keep caring about fictional characters. Because there is sustenance, and hope, and truth, in fiction. Be kind to each other. Recommend the good books. Share the love. Share the hope.
– Kaje Harper