Political Correctness in Fiction

Today, we are going to talk about politics. Not the red-faced arguing, I’m-right-you’re-wrong-and-this-world-is-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket kind of politics. Rather, how to write about politics in stories.

I’m not going to tell you that I have all the answers to this, because I don’t. As a matter of fact, I don’t know how much of this holds up in the publishing industry. All I can talk about is where I’ve come to morally on this topic.

How much you put into your story is solely dependent on you and your convictions. However, there are a few things I like to take into account when writing about anything controversial.

Your Target Audience.

Typically, how receptive is your target audience to different viewpoints? Now, I get that politics this day and age is especially explosive, but a simple scroll on Twitter will tell you whether your target audience is open-minded to other viewpoints or completely shut down upon being challenged. Pay attention to what you see, then decide how you can delicately approach the topic on your mind. That brings me to the next thing I would like you to consider.

Relevance to the Story.

If you’re writing a historical novel that takes place around a high-stakes election, there are probably some political issues you will need to work through with your characters. Even in current day novels, it’s all about the flow of the story. How much does the government affect the storyline or character? Don’t tack on a political affiliation just for the sake of doing so or being “relevant”. Motive. Motive. Motive.

Where Does Your Main Character Stand?

Personally, I like to make my MC neutral when it comes to politics or religious affiliation. I do not state their specific leanings, but I do remark on their feelings when the story warrants it. I write Christian Fiction, so I obviously talk about God and grow my characters spiritually through the circumstances of my maniacal genius. However, I try to keep affiliations general, stating truth while keeping denomination and political affiliation neutral. However, I am still an unpublished author who is decidedly not an expert on this topic. This is just the path I have chosen for my story personally. In my current “Work In Progress”, my MC hates politics as much as I do, so we bond over that.

What’s The Flip-side?

Yup, there’s two sides to every story. Are you representing both sides well? Are you finding the good intentions within both sides of the argument, or are you leaning solely on your own preferences? You see, writers have this responsibility that is hardly talked about. When we write, we must be 2 things. Informed and Objective. If you’re going into researching an opposite viewpoint with a judgmental attitude, you won’t get anywhere and you will not be representing the topic well. Being a Southern girl writing Civi War era stories, I’ve had to lay aside my pride and surrender my preconceived notions on more than one occasion. I’ve had to accept some major discrepancies with my beloved South, and I’ve had to recognize a lot of good aspects about the North. I had to get to the point where I could defend each side equally, which was easier said than done when I’d surrendered myself to a “Yankee hatin'” mindset. So now, when I write about the different sides of the War Between the States, I try to come to the table with an open and understanding heart with personal preferences aside. I try not to sit at my keyboard with the intent to break down or tear apart. Okay, unless I’m trying to disband the bad guys. Sue me.

Now, once I’ve decided how much of a specific viewpoint to put into the story, there are a few things that I like to ask myself before I put that part of my story into play.

Where’s your heart?

Heart motive almost always bleeds through in the story. Readers can tell if you’re stating your case for personal validation, hatred, or insecurity. Is your motive to deliver a God-honoring story that reflects BOTH sides to the topic in question? Or is your motive to tear down an ideology? While the latter definitely has its place, it’s not generally in fiction. That’s why we have Facebook.

(Just kidding! Please do not be that person. We just want to see pictures of your kids and dogs.)

People don’t need to be hit upside the head with a political view when they just want to see if Susan ends up marrying Bobby the anesthesiologist or Earl the potato farmer. In the words of John Crist, “check ya heart”.

How can I put this delicately?

So you have a bit of controversial political or religious content to put into your novel. It advances the plot, makes sense in the story, and is relevant to your character. How can you put that in a way that doesn’t alienate an entire demographic of potential readers? You can’t please everyone…

Let me say that again.

You can’t please everyone.

But, you do have an obligation to present the truth. Try to find a way that does not water down the truth, but is palatable to people who may not share your view. This goes back to taking both viewpoints into account and acting accordingly. Maybe a secondary character has the opposite view of your main character? Maybe your main character realizes that his black-and-white worldview may possibly be more gray? This is going to be different for every story and every character. Whatever you do, do it with grace and after prayerfully considering how it could come across to others.

Finally, and this applies strictly to my Christian readers.

Sin is sin. Truth is truth. But what does God want me to say?

As followers of Christ, we cannot shy away from admitting sin as sin. We cannot turn what God has made black-and-white into a gray area. Don’t let the fear of offending people make you twist God’s truth until it is more widely accepted.

So, how to discern what is set in stone and what is subject to worldview? That’s going to require a lot of prayer and insight from the Lord. As with anything, He is the ultimate clarity that we need. He has bought that clarity for us through Jesus Christ. Go to His throne room and ask for the wisdom and guidance you need.

Bottom line: don’t write for readers, but don’t write for yourself either. Write objectively. Write informedly. Write well.

And if that gets a little sticky, don’t run away from it. Write God’s truth with grace.

Spotlight On: Tracy Groot

I’ve been keeping this bottled up for a few weeks now… except for the poor dears that had to listen to my ecstatic “GUESS WHO I GOT AN INTERVIEW WITH?” Sorry you guys, but I was just really happy about it.

Tracy’s book is titled “The Sentinels of Andersonville”, and I reviewed it here. I LOVE. THIS. BOOK. It cracked me up and made me cry and if Dance Weld Pickett was a real man, I’d have to fight the urge to take him from Violet Stiles. However, one cannot build a solid relationship with a fictional character, so I’ll have to move on.

To answer your question, “Does Tracy have any books BESIDES this one you keep rambling on about?”… YES! Check out her website and her Facebook Page to keep updated with her and her stories!

Okay, on with the interview!

I narrowed down the CVS receipt of a list of questions I wanted to ask Tracy down to 10 questions. Let’s jump into them!

1) What got you started writing about Andersonville?

 When I was about 12, I was channel-surfing (back then there was, like,10 stations) and found

a show starring Captain Kirk (I’m a Trekkie), dressed up in a Civil War costume. I settled in, thinking he’d been transported to the past by some alien entity. Turned out, it was William Shatner playing the role of Norton Chipman, prosecuting attorney for the U.S. in George C. Scott’s outstanding film, The Andersonville Trial. I was horrified to learn through the testimony of Dr. John C. Bates that a young woman had collected 20 tons worth of food in 4 farm wagons for the starving prisoners, drove it up to the gates, but was turned away by Captain Wirz, and informed by him that if that was all her southern loyalty was worth, feeding these particular Northerners, then she may as well set up a house of ill repute right next to the prison.

A question began to form on my back burner: If she was turned back, did she stay turned back? Later, in my 20s, a friend gave me a book called John Ransom’s Andersonville Diary. I thought: Wait—is this the same Andersonville, from that film? Turned out it was. It was then that I knew I wanted to write about it; I wanted to find out if that young woman came back. And it turned out, she did. (I learned that her name was Anna Hodges—the very same Ann Hodgson in my book.) Writing is all about “finding out”; in this case, I had to find out if she stayed turned back.

2) What book would you say has inspired you the most?

Totally unfair question. I can’t narrow it down. Outside of the Bible, the following books have inspired me the most either from darned good storytelling or effervescent style: A Tale of Two Cities, True Grit, East of Eden, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Paradise Lost, Jane Eyre, The Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter books, A Little Princess, oh dear,I could go on and on.

3) Given that Historical Fiction isn’t exactly the most popular genre of books this day and age, what advice would you give an author looking to break into this genre?

Don’t give a passing glance at popular genres of the day. The market is fickle. What’s hot one day is cold the next. That makes it easy: write what you want to write. If it doesn’t sell, set it aside and have fun with another genre if you want to. The key is to have fun at what you do. Don’t ever, ever, ever write for market: write what you want to write. If what you want to write happens to coincide with the popular genre of the day, then Bob’s your uncle. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about it, don’t focus on it, and don’t pay attention to it because you’ll regret it. Write what you want to write. (I had to say that three times. Even then, it’s not enough.)

4) What is the most outrageous thing you have done in the name of research?

I scared up some cash, went to Cyprus in the Mediterranean in ’07, hired a British sailing crew, and asked them to let me throw myself off their sailing vessel while at full sail so I could understand what Jonah felt like to be thrown off a ship in the middle of the ocean. It was a heck of a lot of fun. They actually multi-tasked, and filmed it from a distance for a “Man Overboard” drill for their sailing company. The Jonah book, by the way, is yet to be written; I’ve compiled over a decade of research. I currently volunteer as a sailor during the summer with the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, Michigan. I work on an 1811 recreation of a tall ship sloop called The Friend’s Good Will. I’m learning what it is to be a sailor; the Jonah book is told from the perspective of the sailors.

 5) What did you connect most with while writing The Sentinels of Andersonville?

I connected most with what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said of the Good Samaritan. Somehow, I got hold of this quote while writing Sentinels: He said, of that parable, “the first question that the priest asked…was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’” That quote stayed with me all through the writing of the book, and I included it in the Afterword. It is Dance’s motivation, Emery’s motivation, and Violet’s motivation.

6) What is your favorite underappreciated novel to read?

Oh, what a great question! Hands down, it’s True Grit, by Charles Portis. If you’ve seen both film versions, you’ve seen a good movie, but if you’ve not read the book, you’ve not encountered some of the most brilliant writing that came from American soil. I try to read it every few years, to sit at the feet of one of least-heard-of Great American Novelists of our time.

7) How has publishing changed your approach to writing?

Another great question! First, a lament: I long for the days when things were like a scene from the movie “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”  (a book I haven’t read, by the way, because I found the title off-puttingly trendy—not the first mistake I’ve made in overlooking a great read); in the scene, editor and author were in this book-strewn office, talking about publishing and writing, and I felt a sharp pang when I saw that: such times are no more. Publishing no longer affords for that time-honored, let’s-sit-and-chat relationship. May we light a candle in requiem for those by-gone days. I place the loss of publishing relationships like that at the feet of the Internet, of course. But! (lament over): It is what it is, as mama says, and while the state of publishing is not what this old relic desires, it does not change what I am called to do, what I want to do, and since handsome is as handsome does, this Handsome is gonna write no matter how she finds the current state of publishing. I’ll write if no one reads, and leave a manuscript on my desk for someone to find.

8) What have you learned about book marketing since your first published novel, “The Brother’s Keeper” (2003), and what advice would you give aspiring authors?

I was published at the beginning of the seismic change in traditional publishing, so I remember when it used to be far more the publisher’s responsibility for book marketing; now, it isn’t so. It’s far more on the author, a predicament I’m not at all happy about; a writer is supposed to write, not be consumed with marketing. I go back to word origin when I get confused about roles: editors…edit. Publishers…publish. Agents…agent. Writers…write! And marketers market, doggone it, and no one will convince me otherwise. (Don’t mind me: I’m a congenial curmudgeon when it comes to marketing. I’m not a blogger, or platformer, and resent every minute those things take away from writing.) That said: it’s a new day, a new ball park, one we did not ask for but must deal with, and I suppose we best learn how to operate therein, right? My advice to aspiring authors, then, is the same for myself: if you’re one of those writers without a marketing bone, then pray that God will show you what you’re supposed to do in this day and age. Look for wisdom, and expect that God will also give you grace to go where you need to go, do what you need to do, even if it’s the bare minimum. We should at least do the least we can. I have a website. I occasionally post on my Author Page on Facebook. That’s good enough for me. (I do need to post more, ha ha…) What do we tell our kids? We tell them Proverbs 3:6—“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God will guide you in this brambly thicket, if you ask.

9) What do you like to do outside of writing?

Lots of glorious things! I love to knit. Read. Watch movies. Shop at used book stores. I love to bake. Travel. Do puzzles. Hang out with people. I love to eat, drink, and be merry. I love watching football with my husband. I love it when my kids come over. (Two are out of the house, one is still home.) I love to hosts shindigs. And I love to engage in the occasional shenanigan. (Whatever it is.)

10) How closely do you relate writing with your relationship with Christ? How do these two things coincide?

“For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36. As a Christian, I am unseparated from Christ in everything I do, including writing. Sometimes a strong God message shows up in what I write; sometimes it doesn’t—it may be there, but not overtly so. When I write, I give God something to work with. I give Him material to use in the life of another, or to use in only my own life—and that’s good enough, too. When I write, I release the goods on the inside to the outside; that’s doing what He has called me to do. It’s very important for writers to remember that they are never responsible for results. We must never play the part of the Holy Spirit; how do we know what sort of effect our words will have on the world? We don’t. And we must never presume anything. We must only trust God to do what He will with them. Maybe seeds will be planted. Maybe they will be watered. And maybe they won’t. C’est la vie! The important thing is to write, and write with joy, and trust all results to the hands of the Creator, who knows what He is doing.

Wasn’t that fun? Special thanks to Mrs. Groot for taking the time while battling the flu to answer my questions and impart her wisdom. Give her a follow on social media, and go buy her book, The Sentinels of Andersonville.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!

Book Review: Engraved On The Heart by Tara Johnson

BONUS POST simply because this book has been on my mind since I finished it a few days ago.

Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines―until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

This is Tara’s debut novel, and I’m really hoping she has something new coming down the pike. Her style and meaningful depth of writing make my heart so happy.

When I first started reading “Engraved on the Heart”, I was skeptical. Being a faithful resident of the South, I was defensive against the kind of light that was being shed on the Confederacy’s shortcomings that I prefer not to dwell upon. However, Tara had a way of tugging me into the story and look objectively (something I’m still learning to do as I write my manuscript, also set around the Civil War period).

What I loved most about this story, though, was the delicate way Tara wove story with history. She took the dark and dirty and gave it hope. I love that. I find that Christian books don’t go to the darkest parts like they should, but that was not the case for this book. Both my heart and my morals were invested in the story by the time I read the first few chapters.

Keziah reminded me so much of myself, with her timidity yet strong desire to do the right thing. I loved watching her grow and change for the better through the duration of this novel. Tara did a wonderful job developing a character that functioned on her own, apart from the love interest. Speaking of which, Micah is a total sweetheart. I wish I could put him in a jar and carry him around in my pocket. That’s all I’ll say about him, you should just read for yourself!

In conclusion, this novel is amazing and you should buy it! Support a debut author and join me in encouraging her to release another book soon!

What are you currently reading?

ACFW 2018: Nashville

Hey, guess what? I’m alive! I missed last Thursday’s post due to some personal problems (aka Caitlyn being a drama queen and wallowing in self pity), and the website has also gone under a major re-vamp… again. Trying to establish my brand here, and it’s easier said than done for someone who loves too many things to narrow it all down. Anyways, on to this entry!

Two weekends ago, I had the amazing opportunity to go to the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference in Nashville. It was the single best decision I made in regards to my writing since investing in a computer. Not only were the tracks and workshops super informative, but the community is absolutely priceless. When you sit down at a table for lunch, you don’t really know who you’re going to sit beside. I would never know that I sat beside an author who has 30+ published books had she not told me. The playing field was completely level and not separated by class or position in the writing journey. It was refreshing to be able to talk about the craft for hours and no one got annoyed/confused/bored. On top of that, there was a mutual love for Jesus that influenced the entire event. Each morning, there was a worship time that kicked the day’s events off and got everyone in the right mindset. Rachel Hauck was the worship leader, and boy can she SING. I’ve just purchased one of her books, and I can’t wait to dig into it. Overall, morning worship was one of the highlights of the event.

My favorite part, however, was that the conference was saturated in prayer. There was a prayer room, which I visited just before my first agent appointment to calm my nerves. There was a sweetheart of a lady there ready to pray with anyone who came through, and after her sweet prayer over me, I was able to get through the interview confidently and didn’t burst into tears until AFTERWARDS. (Those second-day conference nerves are REAL.)

The first picture of the conference was with Jenna, the girl I found in the lobby with her nose in a book. I marched right up to her and practically forced her to be my friend, but she was surprisingly compliant. This girl was my lifeline for this entire event. We fangirled over one another’s favorite authors, cheered each other on, and it was super hard to tell her goodbye at the end of everything. Jenna, if you’re reading this, you’re the MVP! She even took notes for me when I had to step out of Angie Hunt’s workshop for an appointment.

The inside of the Gaylord Hotel was absolutely stunning. It’s like an entire town within the building. What little time Jenna and I had to spare, we went exploring and located the essential coffee shops for future reference. Priorities.

The Agent Panel on the first night was a huge lifesaver. It eased my nerves about pitching to the two on the far left, and also gave me wonderful insights into the industry. It definitely kept me from making a fool out of myself in the future.

LOOK WHO I RAN INTO! Mary Connealy is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I love how she weaves humor and romance together so seamlessly. She was so gracious to stop and talk to me for a moment, in spite of the hectic schedule of the conference. I thoroughly embarrassed myself at dinner by running up to her table like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert. “I LOVE YOUR WORK!” I said. Classy, Caity. Real classy.

That’s a wrap for Day 1!

Brandilyn Collins was the emcee of the event, and she did a wonderful job! Here she is introducing the band on Day 2 at breakfast.

Dan Walsh speaking to us about “the struggle” in the Newbie Track.

Debbie Macomber (you can’t really see her, but she’s there) was our Keynote Speaker. We laughed and laughed at her stories and our hearts strengthened under her encouragement. She was wonderful!

My reminder before my first agent appointment to keep things in perspective. “Lord, this was Your story before it was ever mine. Do with it what You will”. The appointment was very fruitful, complete with some hard-to-take advice that strengthened my confidence once I was through being overwhelmed with a reality shock.

I had to miss some of Angie Hunt talking about story and structure, but Jenna hooked me up with the notes. Sitting under her was like sitting under a waterfall of knowledge. She is a genius. Emilie Hendryx taught on platform and branding, hence the website update. Go follow her on Instagram @createexploreread!!

Then, I went to my hotel and slept and slept and slept.

When I walked into the Historical Fiction workshop on the final day, I saw Karen Witemeyer and just about had a come-apart. Since I was 13 or 14 years old, this lady’s books have kept me writing. I emailed her when I was 15, talking about my dreams to pubish. She responded with a truck load of kindness, taking me seriously and telling me to join the ACFW. Well, here we are 5 years later and I finally took you up on that, Mrs. Karen! She was so sweet and kind. She even let me take a video of her waving to send to my friend. I’m telling you, these people are the absolute best.

Remember that meltdown I kind of had on the second day? This sweet lady, hyped up on Benadryl, sat with me and talked everything out with me until I was able to go back to my workshop and not be completely overwhelmed. She was so kind to me through the whole ordeal, and never once told me I was being ridiculous. (Special thanks to Camille, who is not pictured, who also sat with me until I wasn’t such a wreck!)The Romance Panel was a huge help (I had another agent appointment in the middle of it, but what I got to hear was so helpful!) Pretty much all of these workshops were top-notch and I could have learned something from any and all of them. Seeing as to how I’m always a little embarrassed to admit that I write romance novels, this workshop was the companionship I needed and made me realize that I had nothing to be ashamed of. It was such a blessing! The Plotter vs. Pantser workshop was hilarious with Lynette Eason and Carrie Stuart Parks. I’m a pantser through-and-though, but was able to glean some good info from both sides. (Can I just say how I love Joy Massenburge as well? Her happiness is so infectious.) I learned a bit about writing suspense as well, which was much needed for this girl.

img_9382The last workshop, Engaging the Culture through Fiction, was like meeting with Jesus. Rachel Hauck, Colleen Coble, and Liz Curtis Higgs led this workshop and spoke about how we represent our Savior through our writing and how He can infiltrate every single aspect of the process. They talked about Jesus’ story structure, how we approach the deep and dark subjects, and basically lit a fire under us to DIG DEEPER. This was my favorite workshop of them all, and I left with a full notebook and an even fuller heart.

The following are some photos from the Awards Gala later that night.

The best part was that there was coffee after every meal. I mean, this is a professional event and that coffee was a lifesaver. “OH HEY MRS CONNEALY CAN WE GET ANOTHER PICTURE?!?!”

Honestly, this conference was a priceless blessing. I am so thankful for this opportunity to met so many amazing people. It was super hard to leave, but that’s the thing about authors. You never really tell them goodbye, you just go home and revisit them in their books!

Before heading home Sunday morning, we roamed around a rainy downtown Nashville and did some sightseeing.

The exhaustion is real in this face.

Ya know, when in Nashville, you HAVE to eat barbecue. It was perfection, and I would almost make the 3 hour drive just to go back.

Thank you for joining me in revisiting this wonderful event! Now, I have to get back to writing. Lots of edits to make for this girl!

“But what will they think?”

Let me preface this article by quoting Proverbs, “where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” When we seek out other opinions, we should be careful how we approach it. We seek council for perspective, not approval. Naturally, I just want to make people happy. I want them to like me and to be proud of me. The “I don’t give” mindset does not come naturally to me, and not mad about that. However, being a chronic people-pleaser has it’s own downfalls. Here’s how I try to combat those downfalls…

“I can’t write about that!”

“I can’t say that!”

“My character can’t do that!”

“Oh, but what will they THINK?”

Am I the only one who has these kinds of conversations in my head? Daily, it’s a war between what my heart wants to say and how receptive people will be to it. By default, I am driven by fear. Fear of being unloved, unheard, unwanted, and also eaten by creatures who live just beyond the treeline at night.

Even when I have an amazing idea, my first thought always goes to, “but what will the others think of this? Is this going to affect how well I am loved?”

There are 3 questions that I ask myself when these thoughts start popping up.

Question#1: Who wears the pants? 

No, seriously. Who makes your decisions for you? At the end of it all, whether you fall or fly, who will you answer to? The ones who didn’t like your idea? No, you will stand alone before the King. No one will hold your hand when you have to face the music for the decisions you have made. So… why are you letting their approval influence you? Why do they get a say? If there is a story burning in your heart, isn’t it your responsibility to write it? I’m a firm believer that not every story is meant to be published, but that doesn’t mean that every story isn’t meant to be written. We grow personally through the stories we write. We find out what we believe and where we stand. Those are high stakes to hinge on someone else’s approval.

 Question #2: So what?

So what if someone close to you hates what you have to say? So what if no one sees the beauty in the world like you? Does that make your words matter less? No! I will never understand my tendency to tiptoe around other people as if what they think has any substantial weight. Because here is the truth. If just one person reads what you write and feels something, even for a moment, then you are successful. No, it’s not when you’re swimming in millions like J.K. Rowling, it’s not when your book gets turned into a movie, and it’s not when you make the New York Times Bestseller list. It’s when one person, curled up in bed on a Monday night, reads the words that YOU wrote, and thinks “hey, maybe I’m not as alone as I thought.” That is when you know you’ve done something real. This world has forgotten how beautiful it is to feel things deeply. God gave us the ability to be influencers, creators, dreamers, builders, and doers. He gave us the capacity to use that ability to get inside someone’s head and start moving things around. We wield such a strong power that we have to be mindful of how we use it. That’s where our relationship with God and the Spirit comes into play.

But I digress. Bottom line, don’t let anyone influence your message but God. No one else has the authority.

Question #3: What are you going to do about it?

There is a course of action to accompany every problem you face. Even when you don’t take action, there are still repercussions for whatever you do or do not do. When I face criticism at the hands of either myself or someone else, part of me is hurt. Then, the stronger part of me is grateful. Why? Because no one grows without adversity. No one knows what grit they have until they have to power through some obstacles. I’m not used to obstacles, and that’s why I’m shocked when they come along. Not because I do everything so amazingly that I am above reproach, but because I’ve never done anything worth someone objecting to it. So, when someone doesn’t like what I do, then I know I’m doing something worthwhile and I let it grow me. I let it thicken my skin… after I wallow in a shallow pool of self pity and loathing (working on that). Regardless of where you’ve been or where you’re going, there’s a way to grow. There’s a way to get stronger, smarter, and better.


In conclusion, don’t change your message to cater to some muggle who doesn’t care about your magic. When you cross over into eternity, you are not going to be holding their hand and championing their approval. You will go alone, holding nothing but the bleeding heart you kept on your sleeve. We spend so much time worrying about approval when we are running out of time! You don’t get rollover minutes. You don’t get to cash in the effort you saved in your life. This is all you get. Life is happening now, right before your eyes. Seconds are ticking by, and each one takes another opportunity with it.

You’re chasing approval. Stop it! The time is now. The people are the ones in front of you. This is the day.

Carpe the dang diem already!