Thankful for my "people"

This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for the safe place I have to experiment with my writing. I'm thankful for my "people."

I once heard someone say there is no difference between art and prayer. I thought to myself, Yes, that's exactly right.

The fiction I have been writing addresses my deepest fears and my greatest wishes for humanity. I feel an enormous sense of responsibility for communicating those ideas clearly. 

When it comes to writing as art, talent can be built; grammar can be checked; style can be developed. Something like a novel usually starts with a huge, unanswered question, or an intense kernel of inspiration: 

Why do terrible things happen? 

What happens when people act out of fear?

How far should a leader go to protect her people?

What if there is no God? 

What if there is a God?

As a hypersensitive, joy-seeking person, I can often find myself falling into despair when difficult, sad things happen. Instead of hiding in a shell or building up a shield around me, I rewrite reality. I swap out the characters and the setting. I put them in peril and imagine how my protagonist will win out in the end.

So, if you're kind enough to take the time to evaluate someone's art, acknowledge what it takes for a person to put herself out there. Then find something helpful to say about what she shared before you give constructive criticism. 

I'm lucky to be surrounded by supportive family and friends who read endless drafts, laugh at my mistakes with me, and make me feel heard and understood in a very deep way.

Thank you, People.

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