Saturday, November 21, 2009

bad things - good people

Something must be in the air. This topic seems to be coming up from everywhere around me lately. We discussed it at the book club meeting I attended on Wednesday, I heard a remark about it from a college professor, and I've received a couple email messages about it, as well.

It's this: Why do bad things happen to good people in all of your books?

Well, I'm no theologian, and I'm not a psychologist, either, but I'll try to answer this in as soothing a manner as possible, for those of you who always expect good to chase good and bad to consume bad.

I never knew a good person in my life who didn't suffer through some bad events. Sometimes, those things are even horrifying.

In my own life, I probably have enough of those experiences stored up for a dozen or more books, not that I'm necessarily claiming to be a "good" person.

It would be comforting to know, to really know, that there is some great cosmic scorekeeper out there, whose job it was to make sure that good things are tallied up for the good, and bad things cumulate upon evil people, but I haven't seen any evidence of that on this trip around the planet; and I have to write about what I know (or think I know).

That's also why I don't have bad guys with absolutely no human qualities, or good guys without flaws and weaknesses in my books, either.

Which brings us back to a topic that came up earlier this week: writing for kids. Not to overestimate my contribution, but writing for Young Adults is particularly rewarding because it gives us the opportunity to set down everything we want succeeding generations to know about. My own belief is that we have an ultimate responsibility to tell the truth, which is a task that can definitely be accomplished in the context of fiction.

It's what I want my own kids to know, even after I'm not around to tell them.

Oh... and there is always the opportunity for redemption in my books, so don't think that I am completely and hopelessly pessimistic about the human experience.

A couple of months ago, though, I was accused by one (aspiring) writer of being a "bad parent," because of some of the situations that occur in my books (both those that are current releases and those soon-to-be-released). There are sexual situations, underage drinking, smoking, occasionally some drug use, and in The Marbury Lens there is some pretty adult language, too.

If you grew up or live in a place where teens don't do all of that stuff, let me know. I'd love to visit.