|pre-order on Amazon|
As authors, we're kind of expected to simultaneously pour our lifeblood onto the pages of our books, and at the same time, remain apart from them, to cleanse and cut any obvious ties between ourselves and the story we're telling. Our books are both about ourselves, our issues, our struggles, our moral and ethical dilemmas and... Not. Most of the time, it isn't until I've finished writing a book that I look back at it and go "oh. I guess I was trying to figure x out still." Daughter was different, though. Daughter was the book that I knew was going to make me bleed from the start. The book I wasn't ready to write. The book I knew was going to make me deal with all my fears regarding my own faith, my own failings, my own existence in this crazy world we live in.
I am not Emma. Let me put that out there first and foremost before I go any further. I am not Emma, but I have felt the things Emma has felt. Emma's fears have, to a vastly different extent in some ways and to a similar degree in others, been my fears -- and this blogpost is proof that I haven't conquered all those fears yet. That I am still struggling with some of the things that Emma struggles with. Because although I am not Emma, I am, like Emma's character, a pagan polytheist. A Heathen, specifically. My spiritual experiences have been prevailingly Germanic-Norse, not Abrahamic. And let me tell you, squaring all that up with a Catholic upbringing was... pretty terrifying for me. Even more so when I realized I was suddenly on my own, alone, without the comfort and support of the Church to provide a community for me anywhere I went in the (Western) world, without the reassurance that there were literally millions of other people out there who shared in what I believed.
There is so much strength in numbers. In community. There is so much power there to lift us up, or strike us down. And when we can't see ourselves in the community we've been immersed in, when it feels like we don't belong there anymore -- it is so, so hard. But that's what makes this book matter -- to me, maybe to someone you know, but didn't realize needed it, or maybe to you -- because I don't want it to be as hard for someone else. I want them to see themselves inside the community, somewhere, somehow -- even if it's just the community of people who love books.
It's as good a place to start as any.
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound