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aprilhenry July 24 2014, 17:14

How to write about violence

If you’re going to write mysteries, thrillers, horror novels, or many other types of books, you’ll need to decide how to approach writing about violence and physical harm.
There are at least three ways to approach it:
1. Slow it down. Each step makes it clear just how bad it is.
2. Make the readers fill in the blank. Their solutions are usually far more affecting than yours, because they will think of the things that frighten them the most.
3. Underplay it. Use short, simple declarative sentences. Think Hemingway.
black eyesA couple of years ago, I was running in my neighborhood when I fell, cracking the bridge of my nose, and scraping my face, hands and knees. I knew it was bad when I saw the expression of two guys I waved down to ask for help. Here are three ways to describe what happened.
Slow it down
“Running up 45th, April’s toe caught a crack in the sidewalk. The next thing she knew, she was in the air. Time slowed down, the way it did when you reached for a glass and knocked it over instead. She got her hands up in front of her as the sidewalk tilted at a crazy angle. Her palms skidded along the dirty concrete, but her momentum wasn't slowed.
Oh no, she thought, not her face! – then there was the solid surprise of her nose meeting the unmoving sidewalk.
And still April fell. Her front teeth hit the concrete, wavered, decided to stay put.
And finally she was still, face down, unmoving on the cool Sunday morning.
Make the reader fill in the blank
One minute April was running, mentally writing her next blog entry. The next thing she knew she was flat on the sidewalk. Something was terribly wrong. Her face felt wet.
The woman standing by the side of the road was frantically waving her arms. At least Josh thought it was a woman. Her face. Jesus Christ, what had happened to her face?
Underplay the prose
She ran up the hill. It was a Sunday morning. Her thoughts were elsewhere.
The sidewalk had lifted at an expansion joint. Her toe caught the crack. She fell very hard. She lay on the cement. Maybe she was okay. It was just a fall. She started to move but something grated inside. Her mouth tasted like rust.
Next to her was a bush with white flowers. She stared at it. Her vision was growing dark at the edges. The bush would look good in her garden.
She closed her eyes and was still.
More examples of fill-in-the-blank
I think the fill-in-the-blank idea can be the most powerful of the three. Here are two examples, one short and one long:
Five miles up the road, he opened the window and threw out the first of Karen Reid's teeth.
—The Intruders, Michael Marshall (which does not say anything else about what he did to Karen Reid)

  She swam against the grain of the ocean, using a short and sharp stroke and a smooth kick.
She did not see the murky shape drifting toward her. It was more than half-submerged, and it had eyes. When she barged into it, the silent mass reared up.
Her scream was muted, most of it locked in her throat.
On the beach, her sons threw sand at each other and the man with the device unearthed a nickel. The lifeguard rearranged his legs in a way that the girls below could see the filled harness under his neon swim trunks. A stray cloud blotted some of the sun.
One of the boys pointed with his shovel. "Look at Mommy."
—Widow’s Walk, Andrew Coburn
sjmaas July 24 2014, 14:20

Announcing: HEIR OF FIRE US Tour Dates!

So, I’m finally back on the east coast, and in the process of house-hunting (it’s just as stressful as I’d expected it to be, but also fun & exciting), BUT I have a bunch of suuuuper-awesome THRONE OF GLASS news to share with you! US Tour Information! Reviews! Covers!

Before I dive into today’s big news (aka tour info), I have a few absolutely amazing reviews for HEIR OF FIRE to share with you guys!

First of all, HOF received a Top Pick rating from RT Magazine, which is just…beyond incredible. I’m honored & thrilled. (Click for a bigger image.)

RT Review 3

Then, it received a truly lovely review from School Library Journal, which has some spoiler-y stuff, SO I’m just going to post these tidbits:

  • “Readers will devour Maas’s latest entry. The plot remains fast paced, balancing scenes of intense action with emotionally wrenching interactions between characters. Intriguing backstories continue to develop, vacillating between thrilling and heartbreaking, leaving readers to guess where alliances truly lie. While the story continues to be told from multiple perspectives, the addition of new characters brings tangled new relationships and dimension to the plot. …A must-purchase for libraries…”

Annnnd lastly, it received a wonderful review from Kirkus (again, trimmed for spoilers and/or a bunch of synopsis stuff):

  • “…Tension snowballs into devastating twists and an absolutely riveting ending. Maas’ usual hallmarks—an epic fantasy setting and the little-exploited truth that platonic relationships can be more intense and compelling than romantic—are present in force. Will leave readers ravenous for more.”

So, thank you RT Magazine, SLJ, and Kirkus, for such fantastic, thoughtful reviews!

And speaking of HEIR OF FIRE… It’s been so hard keeping quiet regarding details about my upcoming US tour for the book, but I can finally, finally announce tour stops and dates! (Click for a larger image.)

You might notice that this year’s tour is a bit different from the one I had for CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to invite my closest friends & favorite authors to join me at every stop, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! (Also, my publisher, Bloomsbury, is the GREATEST for making this happen.)

I’ll be kicking off the tour with a launch party at Books of Wonder (aka my childhood bookstore & one of my favorite places on the planet) in New York City with my two best friends, Susan Dennard and Alex Bracken, and then getting on the road for a few weeks! I cannot wait to see some of you at these stops—I have a feeling this tour is going to be a total blast. <3

(Also, I’ll have a final schedule for my upcoming UK tour in a week or two! Stay posted, because I’ll be adding more events to my preliminary list!)

Annnnd in case you missed it a few weeks ago, here are the GLORIOUS back covers for the US and UK editions of HEIR OF FIRE!

HeirOfFire_back_YS_reveal.jpg (1)



frost_light July 23 2014, 16:30

Contest winners, tour schedule and special announcement

First, let’s get to the contest winners from last week’s giveaway featuring Arcs of The Beautiful Ashes. Almost a thousand people entered (yes, you read that right – my jaw dropped! :)) but I only had ten Arcs to give away, so apologies in advance to most of you who didn’t win. Ten people did, however, and here they are:

Jocelyn Barnette, Rachel Schneider, Debbie Richardson, Joylyn Davis, Judy Glaser, Penny Noble, Heather Shadix, Elizabeth Chapson, Teresa Kleeman and Elizabeth Chin.

Congrats, all! Replies have been sent to your entries with instructions. Hope you enjoy the book!

Speaking of The Beautiful Ashes, I just received my tour schedule from my publisher. I’ll be traveling to several cities to celebrate its release, and we’re even breaking up the stops to accommodate for Labor Day. Some of the signing feature only me, but several of them are joint signings. To be honest, joint signings are my favorite because then we can turn it into a panel-type event for readers. And hey, if you’re going out to meet an author, why not meet two for the same time and effort, right? *wink*. So, mark your calendars if you’re in any of these cities! I would love if you were able to come out:

August 30th, 3:pm Malaprops

55 Haywood Street

Asheville, NC 28801

September 4th, 7:00pm BooksAMillion

125 South Hampton Drive

Clarksville, TN 37040  Ph: 931-648-1100

September 5th, 6:30pm. Joint signing with J.A Redmerski (Song of the Fireflies)

The Booksellers of Laurelwood

387 Perkins Road Extended

Memphis, TN 38117 901-683-9801

September 18th, 6:30pm. Joint signing with Ilona and Gordon Andrews (Magic Breaks)

Book People

603 N. Lamar

Austin, TX 78703

September 19th, 6:00pm. Joint signing with Melissa Marr (Made For You)

Katy Budget Books

2450 Fry Rd

Houston, TX 77084

September 20th, time tbd. Fresh Fiction event, details to come.

Fresh Fiction

Dallas, TX

September 22nd, 7pm. Joint signing with author Melissa Marr (Made For You)

Barnes and Noble, Tyson Corner Mall

7851 L. Tyson’s Corner Center

Mclean, VA 22102

September 23rd, 6pm. Joint signing with author Melissa Marr (Made For You)

Barnes and Noble

1035 Emmet Street, Suite A

Charlottesville, VA  22903

September 24th, 6:30pm. Joint signing with author Melissa Marr (Made For You)

Fountain Book Store

1312 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA  23219

Don’t live near any of these cities? Feel like you keep missing out on the cool stuff? Well, if you’re reading this, then you have an internet connection, so I have something for you :).

DFAEGBBBMy first four novels went through extensive rewrites, probably because they were also the first four books I’d ever written. Because of that, I have a lot of deleted scenes from them, and in some cases, alternate versions. Many of you have said that you miss Cat and Bones now that their story came to an end in Up From The Grave, so I decided to post a never-before-seen, deleted alternate version of the middle of Destined For An Early Grave. Because it’s so long (over 30K words!)I’m going to post it in four parts on my blog. Part One will go up this Saturday, July 26th, with the remaining three parts to release on August 2nd, August 9th and August 16th. So for the next month, there will be free reading on my blog on Saturdays. Hope you enjoy!

How did I end up with an alternate middle version of Destined For An Early Grave, some of you may be wondering? Because I changed my mind about a subplot. In the original version, when Bones left Cat after the infamous “piano scene” to go to New Orleans, Gregor found a way to erase Bones’s memory of Cat, similar to how Mencheres had erased Cat’s memory of Gregor when she was a teenager. As you can imagine, having Cat erased from his mind changed Bones’s behavior dramatically, and thus the original middle of the novel was very different from the version that was later published. I decided to take that subplot out because so much had already happened to Cat and Bones in DFAEG that the memory loss seemed too burdensome. However, I’m sentimental, which is why I took the chunk out of the final manuscript, but didn’t delete it from my computer.

So, if you want to see Cat and Bones interacting with each other while Bones has no memory of their previous life, come back to my blog on the above dates. For context, this alternate “middle” version starts on page 207 of the print version of Destined for an Early Grave, or 55% through the ebook version, so if you want to familiarize yourself with what was going on back then, grab your copy and brush up.You’ll see some scene overlapping with only small changes at first, then the new content starts after Cat arrives at the military base.

That’s it from me for now. Hope you’re enjoying your week!

Mirrored from Frost Light.

deenaml July 23 2014, 01:41

DESERTED is here!

One month after the release of my YA ebook BLACKOUT, the sequel DESERTED is available from e-tailers!


The desert can be dangerous...especially when you've been deserted.

Seventeen-year-old Kara is done spying on people for her father, the wealthy and morally corrupt businessman Dr. Ellison. Last summer, when her father’s project literally blew up, she fell hard for one of his victims: Leo, the hot musician who made her question her family’s rules. Now Leo’s clear across the country, and Kara’s ready to reinvent herself in Las Vegas.

Of course her father has to mess up that plan, too. He claims a rogue environmental group wants him dead because of his latest alternative energy business venture, and that he needs Kara back on his payroll as the only one he can fully trust. With nowhere else to turn, Kara sends Leo a distressed text message – just before she’s kidnapped, a bargaining chip of the vigilantes who are determined to end her father’s moneymaking plans.

Leo is battling the pains of his last run-in with Dr. Ellison but he wastes no time hopping a plane to Vegas to rescue Kara. As he struggles to find her, the pair tries to learn all they can about the project Dr. Ellison is directing in the hopes of using the information to free Kara. Because if there’s one thing they’ve learned from Dr. Ellison, it’s that no risk is too big when it comes to fame and fortune, life and death.

It is available through the links on my website: http://www.deenalipomi.com/books.html (and BLACKOUT is on sale for .99 through August 1st, too!).

Thanks, LJ readers, for your years of online friendship and support!
deenaml July 23 2014, 01:33

Who Do They Think She Is? (108)

THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jennifer Mathieu
Alice is a slut who killed the star quarterback according to a bathroom wall in Healy High, but maybe Alice isn't who the rumors have made her out to be...and maybe there's more to her classmates than meets the eye as well. Told from the povs of four Healy students who knew or know Alice in ways that share all of their stories, this upper-YA novel rings true in the way rumors fly and high school relationships can turn on a dime where emotions run high. Each pov is clear, and each character is more than meets the eye and they have their own transformations as well. A well-written, compelling, concise novel that is highly recommended. (Roaring Brook Press, 2014)
aprilhenry July 21 2014, 18:08

How the writing process REALLY works

I used to write books just for me. No publisher was waiting for them (although I certainly had the fantasy that once publishers saw the finished book they would fight each other to publish it). And the books were done when they were done.

Now most of my books - I’ve had 17 published in 15 years - are written under contract, which means they have a fixed due date. (Although I still sneak off to work on a “spec” book now and then, like a married woman making out with some hot guy from her Body Pump class in the parking lot of the gym.)

My current writing process is:

  • One year before the book is due: I have plenty of time. And I deserve to relax after how hard I worked to get the last book done. I might make some notes and brainstorm a little. After I clean out the basement.

  • Nine months before: This plot idea is intriguing. The characters are starting to seem like real people. Maybe I should create a thorough outline instead of just plunking away at it.

  • Six months before: The outline is finished. This is going to be so easy. I should outline all the time! I’ll just take it step by step, like paint by numbers. The book is practically going to write itself now that I have all the hard work done. I think I’ll call my friend and go out for ice-cream to celebrate.

  • Three months before: Holy crap! This outline doesn’t work at all. And why do my characters keep doing things I never planned on them doing? This one guy was meant to be a secondary character, but for some reason he thinks he’s the real love interest. And my main character refuses to do this one dangerous thing the outline says she should do. She says it’s a bad idea.

  • Two months before: I will never be done in time. Never. The only way I can do it is to write two thousand words a day, every single day. Didn’t manage more than three hundred today? No problem, I’ll make it up tomorrow.

  • Two weeks before: There’s too much blood in my caffeine stream. I’m writing like a mad woman. But I can do it. If I just give up on this sleeping thing.

  • Due date: There. Finished. Is it any good? I’ve read it over, but to be honest, I have no idea. I hit the send key. I really should celebrate. Or work on that other book that’s due. But how long has it been since I swept behind the couch?

slayground July 18 2014, 13:03

Poetry Friday: There are two things from Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers

There are two things:
True things.
And lies.
When you figure out
which is which
it's like you are on the inside
of the balloon
looking out,
seeing the pin coming toward you
in the sunlight
but not being able
to move away.

Or maybe,
the thing is
that all of us are two people:
the one inside
the balloon.
And the one
holding the pin.

This poem is featured in the epistolary novel Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers. Though the majority of the story is conveyed in letters and emails, one of the characters, Ruth, has a poetry journal hosted on tumblr - which, as of this posting, is not an active account in real life. (Yes, of course I checked!)

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

deenaml July 17 2014, 17:25

First Nations Teen POV (106)

JEREMY STONE by Lesley Choyce
Jeremy enters a new high school where he makes one friend and one enemy, and when the friend needs more help than he can give her, he listens to the spirit of his grandfather for guidance. The verse format is a really nice storytelling device for this YA novel. It gives the reader enough information about Jeremy's home life and school struggles while mirroring the fact that for a long time Jeremy did not speak. A lovely book with a hopeful ending. (Red Deer Press, 2013)
aprilhenry July 16 2014, 20:38

Research to get it right (and have fun while doing it)

It bothers me when I read something in a book that I know is wrong. Wrong and Google-able. (I started writing before the Internet, or at least before a widely available Internet, when it was not quite so easy to check things out. Twenty years ago, I felt more comfortable just guessing or making stuff up. No longer.)

safety error

(Guess what doesn't have a safety? That was the end of this book for me.)

With a little bit of time, you can figure out nearly anything without having to step away from your computer.  Like:

  • Do red-tailed hawks eat road kill? (If fresh, yes).

  • Does Oregon pay for braces for kids in foster care? (No.)

  • What time are trial advocacy classes at the University of Washington. (Late afternoon.)

  • What testimony did the original grand jury hear in the Phoebe Prince case? (Actually, I couldn’t find that, which makes sense. Grand jury testimony is sealed. Still I would like to know more.)

One of the absolute best parts about my job as a mystery and thriller writer is doing research. In the past couple of years, I've:
Biting Plastic BagTaken a class in fighting in close quarters. At the end, someone sat behind you in your car and attacked you with a training gun, a training knife, a plastic bag, and a rope.

Under sinkPulled out everything from underneath my kitchen sink, crawled into the space, and taken a picture to prove to one of my editors that yes, a body would fit under there.

Asked my kajukenbo instructor to drag me across the room, his hands underneath my arms, so that together we could figure out how a character could fight and get away.

Fingerprint TonySpent a day with a criminalist at Forensics Division of the Portland Police.

Threat D hostageFaced down armed muggers, home invaders, crazy people, and robbers - all while armed with a modified Glock that uses lasers instead of real bullets. I did this at a firearms training simulator facility (the only one like it in the world that is open to civilians) which, lucky me, is just 20 minutes from my home. You interact with life-sized scenarios filmed in HD. The scenarios change depending on what you say (for example, “Hands in the air!”) and where your shots hit (a shot that disables versus one that injures). Meanwhile, the bad guys are shooting back. If you choose - and I do - you can wear a belt that gives you a 5000-volt shock if you’re shot. The facility even offers a simulation that is nearly 360 degrees, so you feel like you are standing in the middle of, say, the convenience store or the parking lot. This teaches you to look behind you for that second or third bad guy.

Every year, I go the Writers Police Academy, which is in North Carolina at a real police and fire academy. I also graduated from the FBI’s Citizen Academy, which is taught by real FBI agents and included a stint at a real gun range where I shot a submachine gun. I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, and my local chapter has experts speak every month (the blood spatter expert was particularly interesting). And I’m an online member of Crime Scene Writers, which has lots of retired or even active law enforcement personnel who answer questions.
cyn2write July 16 2014, 17:24

Writing Under Two (or More!) Personas

If you know me really well, you'll know that I write under several different pen names. Some I am open about. Some I am not. The top question I get is, "Why?" So I thought I'd invite another author to explain what it's like when both your funny and serious side are struggling to come out on the page at once. Please welcome Anna Staniszewski to the blog!

I’ll be honest. Writers tend to have multiple personalities. We not only spend a lot
of time talking to ourselves, but many of us also work on projects that are so
different, they might as well have been written by different people. For some of
us--like Cyn--we even write under different names for different

When I first set out to get published, my work was DARK. Think isolated villages with
corrupt leaders and post-apocalyptic landscapes. Ultimately, one of those
projects was able to get me an agent, but none of them managed to find a
publisher. Luckily, I had another part of my writing personality--one I hadn’t
really explored yet--that “wrote funny.”

As my agent and I were struggling to sell one of my dark projects, I was writing aprank list cover 2
wacky story about fairy tales. I was very lucky when we found a publisher who
not only liked it but wanted me to write more. Since then, I’ve written several
more “funny books” for Sourcebooks, but funnily enough, each of my series has
gotten a little darker.

In The Dirt Diary series, the character is dealing with divorce, bullying, and
identity issues--all told in a light, funny way. Meanwhile, the book that I’m
working on next, I’m With Cupid, is about a girl reaper and a boy cupid who
accidentally swap powers. Dark? Yes. Funny? I hope so!

I guess it’s taken me a while to find a way to combine my dark persona with my
funny persona, but I’m excited that it’s finally happened. I think my dark
projects might have been taking themselves too seriously before; maybe they were
waiting for me to develop another writing personality that would finally make
them work.

Anna's Bio:

Anna StaniszewskiBorn in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving
stories in both Polish and English. Currently, she lives outside Boston with her
husband and their crazy dog. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time
reading, daydreaming, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the
author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series and the Dirt Diary series. Her
newest book, The Prank List, released on July 1st from Sourcebooks. You can visit Anna at www.annastan.com .

So what do you think? Do you write under more than one persona? Why?

frost_light July 16 2014, 15:05

Arc giveaway of The Beautiful Ashes

Hi everyone! As I promised last week, here is the contest to receive an Arc (advance reading copy) of my upcoming NA novel, The Beautiful Ashes. If you haven't heard of this book yet, here's the back cover description:

TBA cover 2In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate. 

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side, Adrian on the other, and nothing but ashes in between…

Releasing August 26th, 2014. 

 Read excerpts from The Beautiful Ashes here and here.

Now, to the contest, open to readers wherever you live in the world.

The Prizes:

10 winners will receive an Arc of The Beautiful Ashes, Broken Destiny book one.

All winners will be chosen by Randomizer. To enter, please follow the rules below:

1. Send an email to  jeanieneprizes AT gmail DOT com.  (obviously replace the “AT” with an “@” and the “DOT” with a “.” in your email.)

2. Make sure to include your name and the email address you want to be contacted at if you win, if it’s not the email you’re sending your entry from.

3. You can only enter ONCE. Duplicate entries will be deleted.

4. Contest starts now and ends July 22nd at 11:59pm Est. Winners will be announced July  23rd on my blog.

Good luck, everyone :).

carriejones July 16 2014, 12:07

My tweets

carriejones July 15 2014, 21:20

My Daughter is in Israel so I am Learning About Hate

So, since my college-aged daughter went to Israel on July 6, people keep asking me in person, in private messages, and social media some things that are sort of freaking me out.

The first is this:

Wait, are you Jewish?

This is sometimes followed with, "You don't look Jewish."

At which point I don't know whether or not to say, "Um. How does Jewish look?"

Because the thing is that I am not Jewish by heritage or conversion and I want to know why this is suddenly a defining question about me because my daughter has traveled to Israel. Would they ask if we were Muslim if she had gone to Iran, Kuwait? Would they ask if we were Hindi or Buddhist if she went to India? Nobody asked if we were Catholic when we went to Ireland.

The second question is:

Is your daughter Jewish?

And same thing. Same answer. She is not any more Jewish than I am.

But it leaves me with a weird gasp in my throat because most of the times that people ask? There's a look on their faces. It's not a look I'm used to seeing because I present like an able-bodied, middle-income, white woman who is most likely Christian.  And that look on most of these people's faces when they ask in person if I am Jewish? It's the face of bigotry.

It's not a face I like.

And it also makes me wonder why they ask? Why does it matter? Jewish people are not the only people who visit Israel or who live in Israel.

But that bigotry against them, and against the Palestinians is real and horrifying. Just look up #israel or #hamas on your favorite social media and you will see calls for death, for genocide. You will see death. You will see hate. And if you have a heart inside your chest, what you see will take away your hope or it will dent it, break off a piece of it.

And, yes, I know that I am lucky. I know that even though I grew up poor, I still grew up white in a country and world that still has glass ceilings and color barriers and hate crimes based on all sorts of things. I know that I can hide my biological differences. But just because I am lucky, doesn't make the bigotry okay. Bigotry is never okay. Demeaning other people, dehumanizing others because they believe differently, worship (or not) differently, vote for the opposite politicians you vote for (or don't vote at all), identify as a different gender than you, are feminists, are women, are gay or questioning or straight, are poor or wealthy, larger sized or smaller sized, are a different race or ethnicity or ability or income. None of that matters. Listen. We need to get to a place where we love people as people not as labels. We need to get to a place where someone like my daughter can visit another country because she simply wants to learn as much as she can about other cultures and experience as much as she can in the limited time she has on this earth.

Which leads me to the third question that was on my Facebook, a question that has been implied over and over again after Israel and Gaze began firing rockets and missiles at each other:

Carrie I love you (so please don't take it personal) but why would you even let Em go there? I know she's a free spirit and will most likely do whatever she wants, but wouldn't she also listen if her mom would tell her to go somewhere safe istead?

That comment was in response to my Facebook status, which said:

Em just texted me that sirens are going off. Then she texted she loved me. Now she is not responding. Must not freak out. Must not freak out. Must not freak out. I am totally freaking out.

The person who wrote that is a super lovely person, but the judgement in her question pretty much increased my blood pressure to dangerous levels. Seriously, I could feel my pulse in my head. That never happens to me. Not even after running or mountain climbing or arguing with my siblings.

And I responded like this:

I appreciate our concern NAME OF PERSON (I am not putting it here because she really is nice), however it has nothing to do with Emily being a free spirit. It has to do with her being an adult who is over the age of 18, who has a life to lead as she sees fit, not how I see fit. We discuss everything before she does it, but the choices are always hers, as they should be. She is a brilliant kid, a passionate advocate for human rights, resourceful as heck and calm in a crisis. When the other young adults she was with were freaking out, she was calming them down, cracking jokes, explaining military strategy, hugging the crying ones. I will never try to make her live her life according to my expectations of safety. Because if I did? She would do nothing. She would never ride in a car. She would never have been a flyer in cheerleading. She would not go to Harvard, which is in a city, which is more dangerous. She would have never log rolled or played soccer or taken Krav Maga or rode horses. She would never be able to enter the career paths she is considering. Yes, she sometimes choses to do dangerous things, but it is never for the sake of being dangerous. It is almost always for the sake of broadening her understanding of the word and/or helping others. I want my daughter to live the fullest, most well-traveled (if that's what she chooses), amazing life possible. Yes, I have to hold my breath sometimes because of her choices. I was a wreck when she cheered. I was a wreck when she hung upside down from a trampoline or jumped off a roof during stunt camp. It doesn't matter. It is her life. Not mine. Military parents (and spouses) go through this and much worse all the time. People need freedom to grow, to make choices, and not to be coddled.

I believe what I wrote, but the comment still rattled me. Actually, it still does. Why do we all think it's okay to judge other people so much and about so much?

We all, including me, need to understand where our judgmental attitudes come from. We need to practice empathy. We need to work towards understanding. No, I will never know what it is to be a man, to be transgender, to be a billionaire, to be Muslim, to be autistic, but I will know what it is like to be epileptic, female, victimized, assaulted, stalked, to live in a car, and to be poor. It's not all the same thing, but what is the same about us all is that we are all humans. We all can be loved. We all can love. We all feel. We all can respect. We can all be respected. We can all try a little bit harder not to live full of hate and instead live full of love.

And sure. We are going to screw up.

And sure. We are going to suck sometimes.

And sure. That will stink.

But it's part of the process, right? And that process has to be full of hope - hope to be better, kinder, hope to make the world less full of hate, bombs, dead children, trafficked women, murders, poverty, and war. We start with ourselves and simultaneously work on the bigger picture. Isn't that what being a person is about? I hope so. I really really hope so.

Welcome to the new LiveJournal

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