My book, These Lying Eyes, I wrote for my 13-year-old self who found a refuge in books. In particular, I found solace in The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley and the Lionness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. Can I ever be grateful enough to those writers? Is it possible for them to know what they did for me?
I wrote These Lying Eyes for her. My young self. For me. And for girls and boys just like me. But, mostly, I wrote it for me (or for her, if you will, as I am not the same person). I wrote it for my childhood self and a lot of her is in there.
Recently, I was told about a reader of my blog who couldn’t enjoy it because of my foul, foul mouth. You can probably imagine my initial reaction to that comment. (It’s possible that the literal air turned figuratively blue out of sheer irritation.)
But then, I started thinking about how I wasn’t writing for her. I wasn’t writing for my family who read it but don’t return text messages. (I’m looking at you Shawn.)
The brother who gave me this princess is my favorite. You can see why I’m sure. Look at that face. Doot-doot-doot!
I write my blog for a lot of reasons. I started because “everyone” says writers need to have an online presence. I gave it up soon after for that reason alone. And I started writing with as much honesty as I could find about life as I could. Foster Parenting. Living in Portland. My unfeigned love of books.
Am I an expert on foster care? No, I’m just a girl. I’ve only had one placement. I haven’t wound my way through the redtape of the state’s system. And my great hope is that I won’t have to. That my next placement will, miraculously, be one that can be adopted.
So, why then, am I baring my soul regarding the children here?
*****Because we need to know we aren’t alone.*****
The vlog brothers created a relationship between themselves via youTube. Then they found that all across the world were people just like them–a little nerdy, intellectual, funny, and–maybe–lonely. And a whole community was created. Loneliness started to end. People fell in love. They started businesses; they found bosom buddies, they connected.
When I got my first foster care placement, I tried to find blogs about foster parenting, so I could learn more about the process. I wasn’t that successful. But, I write for those others who need to know that foster parenting is horrible, hard, lonely, sad, and beautiful. It’s beautiful to see families heal even as your own hopes are crushed. I write to tell them it’s ok when you don’t immediately love them. That relationships, even with tiny innocent, children–take time. It takes time to fall in love, time to be ok with giving up your free time, your sleep, your home, to little children that you just don’t know. The process is magical, they morph from strangers to precious babies that you can’t ever imagine not having been part of your life. People, especially people experiencing the process, need to know that it gets better, that it never stops being hard, and the worst part won’t be when they trash your carpet or wake you at 2 in the morning for the 8th morning in the row, it will be when they leave you.
I write about books for my own indulgence; I write about the classics for the college version of myself; I write about Portland; because I love it here.
But mostly I write to bridge the gap across the great expanse of the infinite and help us remember that we aren’t alone. That, foul-mouthed or not, God loves us. That we can make the world a better place as we attach ourselves to each other; as we help each other, as we share what is beautiful or frustrating or real in our lives. That we are all connected by the virtue of being human. Just as John Donne once said,
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
I don’t mean this in a morbid, death way. I think Donne may have meant to say that we are diminished by the loss of another because connection is what makes life worthwhile. Because the things that makes us individuals, unique or not, are special and should be appreciated. So for all of those that are building connections with me or will someday wind themselves into my life, I have to say:
I love you. I’m glad you’re here.
To the chick who chooses not to read my blog, its ok that you don’t want to read my blog. I wish you the best.