The past few weeks have been rough on a number of people. I struggled to continue writing, to rise past anger and fear. I am going on Facebook less, to see less news, and to get less angry. The struggle continues. Then I went to Book Riot Live, on a Saturday.
I sat and listened to four panels, many about the power of story, about turning pain into art. For the first time in days, I laughed. My faith in people grew. I was able to write a thousand words that weekend.
Other people shared their fears about the future. Those fears reflected my own. Author Walter Mosely gave advice on how to write through pain. I missed the primal scream from the convention’s beginning, but I felt the joy. We needed each other to persist.
I flew home Sunday night. Life persisted. On Saturday, November 20, I went to see Cressida Cowell, the author of How to Train Your Dragon, at the Miami Book Fair. Cressida nearly teared up when talking about what her protagonist Hiccup would do when facing our problems. She felt the same way I did, and understood why I asked. She also liked the Hiccup doll I brought to show her. That was the happiest I felt since Book Riot Live.
Times like this make me doubt my feelings. Facebook has decided to combat fake news, and people deny basic facts. Fake news writers refuse to take responsibility, and Trump’s supporters smugly gloat and troll. The media has consequently decided to make our President-Elect seem normal. We also may poison our water supplies and doom our planet. Yet we have to move on with our lives, while remaining aware of this news.
A book event invites like-minded people. Book Riot Live exists to bring writers and readers together. You go to an author event to see an author, or to a book convention to attend panels or meet your fellow columnists. Then you realize that people who read books understand your feelings. They share empathy, because they feel the same way. You feel validated.
We have to keep going despite the election choices, and to brace ourselves. The next four years will test our patience for indecent political behavior. We shouldn’t have to survive, or to fight for basic human decency, but already we’re fighting to keep white supremacists and misogynists out of the White House. Society may regress, and we have to make it progress.
This fight already has tired me out, just from reading and spreading real news. As a result, the book events have proven reviving. We need fiction to maintain sanity, and patience with others. In addition, we need to know other people feel the same. We need to know that we’re not alone.