We're all connected, right? We're on Facebook, Twitter, blogging and monitoring all our digital connections.
And yet, I've become aware of spinning and spinning online; building ties and promoting, yes, but the virtual, in the end, is fleeting.
In college, I wrote my senior thesis on the works of E.M. Forster. (Look, here's my ancient edition!) Now, I confess, I don't remember the thrust of my argument, but I do know I was drawn to Forster's epigraph: Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. For Margaret in Howard's End, it was her hope to reduce the inevitable inner solitude that isolates humans.
When we make human connections, we nurture compassion. As Gary Schmidt (my new hero!) reminded us at the LA SCBWI conference, “Write the stories that will give kids more to be human beings with.” His five dictums to authors are: "Love the world. Love words. Make wonder. Pay attention. Make the writing serve." Read Schmidt's Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy to know how it's done.
It's what I've tried to do with My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer. As one librarian noted, the story "allows opportunities to understanding love."
The highest calling, I believe, is to write the truth. This is hard. "Make an authentic connection between author and reader," said Arthur Levine. "Truth is timeless."
I'm not the first to observe that social media is just another way people try to escape the isolation that plagues us. But perhaps the answer is to read (and write) more true, wonderful books to connect with our inner humanity.
In San Francisco on June 24, thousands marched in the annual Pride Parade--a wonderful splashy show of love in all its forms.
Started more than 40 years ago, many longtime gay activists said the next generation gives them hope--for a better future.
Even with the strides made, bullying of gays or even kids who don't fit the mold continues to be a problem. Middle school is the worst, with almost everyone suffering a consuming and terrible desire to fit in. For those who can't, the school days are miserable. Too many hope to remain invisible. I was lucky; too bookish, I stared aloofly off into space, fooling no one into believing I wanted to be alone.
So yes, it's great to see the kaleidoscope colors of Pride. Hooray for a celebration of difference!
And for those who want to know what to read, check out Lee Wind's excellent website "I'm here, I'm queer, what the hell do I read?"
So here's to standing on the side of love, always.
Candy hearts, cards, chocolates -- this day can be pretty miserable, especially for anyone in middle school. I can remember being relieved that I wasn't forced to send a card to every classmate as I was in elementary school. But the relief of not doing 24 homemade cards was overshadowed by receiving only one or two from friends.
Valentine's Day gets better, really, when you are older.
Especially when you realize it's OK to celebrate the love you feel for your friends, your dog, and your sister or brother.
This Valentine's Day, I'm thinking about the people in Washington State. They just voted to approve marriage for all. Now, it doesn't matter if two men or two women want to marry. You can marry who you love. That makes seven states, including Vermont, that have legalized gay marriage.
I think that's great. June would, too. In MY MIXED-UP BERRY BLUE SUMMER, June encounters some grownups who don't think her mom should be allowed to marry her girlfriend. June struggles to make sense of her new family, and how to stand on the side of love.
You'll have to wait until May to see how the pie gets mixed in.
Here's what I've been thinking and writing about. I love getting email, too!