Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Author's Statement" and My Own Edge

The Delicate Arch, a natural arch in Moab, UtahImage via Wikipedia

I have to write an Author's statement for my publicist. This, I gathered from her, is kind of like a college essay wherein I impress upon the world the reasons you should read my book, or why I wrote the book in the first place. Really? Do I have to? I am intimidated!!!!! I'm getting anxious that this is really happening. Publication. I have to get comfortable talking up EDGES and the fact that it's "about" the unglamorous topic of addiction and recovery. (And no, I didn't throw in a vampire as a metaphor, although that was very tempting.)

Luke had been tapping me on the shoulder, waiting patiently for me to tell his story for a very long time. I had known that he was running from his mother's death and father's alcoholism to a youth hostel in Moab, Utah. Originally, I was going to write two narratives: Luke's, and his father, Frank's journey to sobriety and to each other. But then Ava appeared at an AA meeting with Frank, and I became more curious about her story.

I hadn't read any fiction about the process of recovery. There is plenty out there with graphic insight into addiction. (The best of which I think is Crank by Ellen Hopkins.) But what happens when you take away the substance? Or, if like Luke, you just run away?

In my work with teens and substance abuse, I found that the older the kids are, the harder it was to make an immediate difference. Still, planting the seeds of recovery and healing was essential. Books are a powerful tools for learning and discovery.

We are all human and can make poor choices. But where is the line between a stupid choice and disease? I have had more friends and family members die from alcoholism and drug addiction than anybody would want - the latest of whom was three weeks ago. My friend's son, was found in his bed, slumped over from an overdose of heroin. And he had been trying to stay clean. A sweet, kind young man, who will be missed.

We write to understand the world, at least I do, and EDGES came out of a need to find hope in a sometimes bleak world, hope in a time where it's so easy to go over the edge, and somehow more difficult to find your own personal edge - stretching yourself and your mind beyond what you thought possible.

I also wrote EDGES with the underlying hope that I would be of service, that I would plant seeds, without being didactic or preachy, to be curious about how to wear life like a loose garment without either being hyper-responsible like Luke or out of control like Ava.

This "Author's Statement" will be marinating in my lobes and cerebellum all week. It will take me to my own "edge" of my comfort zone. What are my boundaries?

Thank you, oh mighty blog, for letting me "practice" on you, and thank you to my "circle" of readers, who help me keep going!

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  1. I think from your second paragraph onward you've got a good chunk of it drafted... I hate "assignments" so I feel your pain. I'll write all day, every day, but please don't give me a deadline and a specific task with narrowly defined parameters.

    So sorry to hear about your friend's son. I think everyone has been touched in some way by addiction. It's horrible to lose someone so young just as they are trying to make a change. I lost a cousin the same way. It's tragic.

  2. Happy thoughts headed your way. Think "The Little Engine That Could" and chug along.

  3. Oh guys, thank you so much for your comments and support! It's hard to put this kind of stuff out there, but I have to put my money where my mouth is, right?

  4. oh - i am already intrigued. the story of how this novel came to be is already in you - you just have to let it come out. i know you will have no trouble with this. xo

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