Holding Hands in the Wreckage


* Here’s a throw-back post that originally went up Nov. 24, 2010. I felt like it ended up defining me as a writer and a person in many ways. Enjoy.

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I’ve been thinking about endings a lot lately.  I’ve been thinking about the ending to my manuscript, the end of Harry Potter’s story, and the endings in my own life (most of which aren’t even visible on the horizon because I’m younger than I think I am).  I’ve had a bunch of conversations recently – with some people who are idealistic and others who are disillusioned – and in these conversations, I bounce back and forth between fluffy optimism and tortured cynicism.  I’m the devil’s advocate.  If the person I’m talking to is being all double rainbow all the way across the sky, I’m snow melted inside your boots and all over your favorite socks.  If I’m talking to someone who can’t conceive a world in which Bambi’s mom lives, I’m world peace (and harsher punishments for parole violators)… not because I’m trying to disagree with everyone, but because life, I think, is the impossible melding of hope and realism.

Earlier this week, I was reading the Invincible Summer blog by Hannah Moskowitz, and she wrote something that really hit on this balance and on what readers and humanity desire out of stories and life.

“No evil winning. Your characters don’t have to be making out in the sunset, but they have to at least be holding hands in the wreckage.”

When I come to the end of a journey in life or a story, I want a hopeful ending.  I don’t need it to be all warm & fuzzy and perfect.  I don’t need Harry to come out of it unscathed, nor would I suspend my disbelief if Rowling had written it that way.  The truth is that life is hard.  The world is a messed-up place where people die, hearts are broken, and tears are frequently justified.  However, I also can’t stomach hopelessness.  Voldemort can’t win.

In life and in stories, I have to hope towards the future.  I have to hope that good things happen when we don’t deserve them and that there’s a good God spreading out breath-taking goodness for us because He is good.  I have to believe for my characters and for myself.  I look forward to holding hands in the wreckage, and I pray that all of my readers can trust in a God who makes that happen for us.

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