You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2014.

Come on Home, Children, the second book in the trilogy Children in Hiding, is now available on Amazon. It treats of the same dystopian society as the first one, in which women are required to purchase a license to have a baby. If they don’t have a license, the child is subject to confiscation by the state, to be raised in a state- run Children’s Center.

There are certainly many excellent orphanages throughout the world, but as in any human endeavor, both bad and good people will engage in it. And the not-so-good people may try to take advantage of the situation for their own pleasure and profit.

Miss Amberton is one of my favorite villains. Here is a snippet of her conversation with four-year-old Katy, the heroine’s daughter, who has been taken by the Population Management police to the Children’s Center where Miss Amberton is the director. Mrs. Baker, her assistant, is trying to help her snap a photo of Katy.

“Smile, Katherine,” said the woman with high black hair combed back. She stood pointing a camera at Katy, who she had placed in front of a white wall.
“Don’t want to,” said Katy, tightening her lips. “My name’s not Katherine.”
“Of course it is, you’re just not used to it. Now smile for the camera. Don’t you want your picture taken?”
“No. Are you a witch, like in Hansel and Gretel?”
“There are no such things as witches, Katherine. That is rude.”
Mrs. Baker hovered in the background, rubbing her hands nervously together. She did not seem to like what the other woman – Miss Amberton – was doing. “Maybe she will smile for me,” she said in her soft voice.
“She’s a stubborn child.” Miss Amberton handed the camera to Mrs. Baker. “See what you can do.”
“Are you going to put me in an oven and turn me to a cookie and eat me?” asked Katy. “That’s what witches do.”
“No one is going to eat you,” Miss Amberton said through her teeth. “Give us a smile.”
“Please,” Mrs. Baker coaxed. “Then you can go and play.”
Katy grimaced, showing her teeth for a split second. “Okay, can I go?”
“No, sweetheart, we need to take a picture,” said Mrs. Baker.
Miss Amberton stood tapping her foot and breathing heavily through her nose.
“You know,” Katy said to her, “you aren’t supposed to steal kids. When I see a policeman, I’ll tell him what you did. Policemen are our friends, except for the ones with green shirts.”
“We didn’t steal you, we rescued you,” said Miss Amberton. “Someday you will appreciate the difference.”
“And when I tell the policeman, you will be toast.” Katy giggled. “That’s funny. I won’t be a cookie, but you will be toast.”
“My, aren’t we precocious.”
“What’s precoshus?”
“Too smart for your own good.” Miss Amberton’s lips were tightly compressed. Katy did not think she would make a good picture either.
The thought made her smile a tiny bit. Mrs. Baker snapped the picture as she did. She straightened up with a sigh. “I think that’s as good as we’re going to get.” She showed the camera to Miss Amberton.
“It’s fine. She looks a little pathetic. We’ll use that one.”

You hear complaints on occasion in reviews of books or films, that the writer ruined the project by forcing a “Hollywood ending” on an otherwise compelling adult tale. Happy endings, it is implied, are what the unsophisticated common man insists on. But real life is grim and tragic, and we should man up and accept it.

My books for the most part end happily. That is because I am aware of enough grief and loss every day. I see it in the media and I hear it from my clients. My profession as a nurse puts me in touch every day with people who are dealing with diagnoses of terminal illnesses, accidental deaths of children and grandchildren, loss of their limbs or their eyesight, and other traumatic difficulties. I am continually astonished at how most people rise to meet these challenges with grace and courage.

But when I watch a movie or read a book, I don’t want to be taken through the wringer again. I want solace, the assurance that things may look bad but through the cloud-wrack a white star is still shining, giving us hope, as Samwise saw. And those are also the kind of books I write.

I also do so because I believe that the foundation of reality is a primordial eucatastrophe. This is a term that J.R.R. Tolkien invented to mean an ending involving an abrupt and unexpected change, in which evil is thwarted and good triumphs. The ending of his book The Lord of the Rings is a eucatastrophe. “Tolkien calls the Incarnation “the eucatastrophe of human history” and the Resurrection the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation.”(Tolkien, J.R.R. (1990). The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays. p.156)

I love the good news of the gospels, and consider it the basis for almost all works of literature. Elements of this tale are found in every best seller from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to the latest Dean Koontz thriller. These include, among other things, the hero in disguise, the toilsome journey, the imprisoned or mistreated bride, a conniving enemy, a heroic sacrifice, redemption, and final triumph.

Every best seller, every fairy tale, every good movie contains at least some elements of this tale, and the more it does so, the more closely it corresponds to reality. Because this is the tale told from before the foundation of the world.

Of course, not all happy endings are immediately evident. I just finished reading “The Doomsday Book,” by Connie Willis, [ Spoilers] one of the best books I have read this year, which ends with a great deal of grief and death. But it is redeemed by the vindication of faith of the main characters. It is made clear through this book, as through my experience with my patients, that death is not the ultimate tragedy.
I will stand by my happy endings, because they are the stuff of real life, despite all that seems to argue against it.

Future Dreaming Tales of SciFi and Fantasy

In the future, who will make your choices?

Difficult Run

Beautifully struggle every day

One Thousand Words a Week

Either this, or another ten bucks for Lisa.

Alisa Jordan

Young Adult Novelist with a dark work in progress.

wordpress tips

tips & advice on wordpress.com blogs

terrywilsonsite

Site for Terry L. Wilson, author of THE BLANKET HILL INSURGENCY, BREAKING LIBERATOR'S SHACKLES and TARNISHED VALOR

How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks

self-publishing tips for authors

Ferris Robinson's Day Off

Dogs. Food. Middle Aged Mischief.

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.