But from these deep places comes the magic of story. Good stories take us to the edges of human endurance. And then they lift us high, they show us the way forward. I believe, profoundly, in the human spirit. I believe in our ability to go higher, to lift out of the darkness.
I’m willing to put my characters into harm’s way. It isn’t always easy. I love these imaginary people and want the very best for them. But here is the essence of story—the steps towards resolution are slow, the character stumbles and falls, begins again, and stumbles again, further downward until there is nothing but a sliver of hope. And they begin yet again. Love is tested. Resolve is tested. Courage is tested.
It's a lot like life, yours, mine, everyone on the planet’s. Hard times come and go and come back again. We are tested. We stand up again. But in life, like in any good story, something comes of this. We are forged and tempered, we grow stronger for having gone through.
In books, we can live a thousands of lives, we bear witness to thousands of journeys. Your life and mine and that of the character, as different as they are, are also very much the same. And as we share in the hard times, we can also be lifted, we can also find the best of ourselves.
Making my fiction work like this, on a deeper level, is my goal. It’s not an easy goal to strive for. Then again, the things worth striving for are rarely easy.