So, Monday night of this week, I was having kind of a sucky evening. I won’t bore anyone with details, but it was nothing life-changing or tragic, just . . . sucky. And then I watched this week’s episode of Castle–and emerged an hour later, completely cheered-up and smiling. The episode (titled After Hours) was funny and suspenseful and romantic and just overall brilliantly written and acted. But apart from my unashamed Castle fan-girling, there was another reason the show made me smile.
Now, I have an amazing husband who has both cheered me on and picked me up and dusted me off more times than I can possibly count. I have two gorgeous baby girls who make me laugh* and count my blessings every day. But Monday night, Castle reminded me of the incredible potential tv, books, movies and all other forms of stories have: the power to cheer our hearts, touch our spirits, and lift us out of ourselves–whether we’re stressed, tired, or even struggling to find the light in a truly dark and hopeless place. And that was exactly what I needed to remember just then: why stories matter so much.
I love every single fan e-mail or note or comment I get–seriously, could not love them more. But I will never forget the first fan-message I got that was of a somewhat different kind. I’ve gotten others since, but this was the first, and it was from a reader who had just finished my first series, the Twilight of Avalon trilogy (a retelling of the Trystan and Isolde legend). What she wrote was something along these lines: “I know it sounds crazy, but I was going through a really bad time in my life when I read your books, and reading about Isolde being so strong through all the troubles she faced helped me to be strong, too.”
And please don’t think I’m writing this to be self-congratulatory at all–like, Go me, look how meaningful my books are. Gah!–no. Of course I try to make my stories the best they can be. But at the end of the day, I’m just telling stories. It’s the magic of the reader/book interaction that leads some readers to connect to my characters’ journey, take from it something that they need. And it’s the most amazing and humbling part of this job that I get to be in any way a part of that magic.
Castle star Stana Katic recently posted to her facebook page that anyone wanting to send her a gift should make a donation to a charity. One of my favorite hobbies is sewing handmade dolls and sending them to children in need around the world, and I’ve made loads of this sort of donation–but I want to send these ones off in a spirit of thanks to Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion, Andrew Marlow (show producer), Shalisha Francess (After Hours episode writer), and every single other crew or cast member who works on Castle. And I’m sure they’ll never read this post or know how much I needed this week’s episode–but that’s totally okay.
Donna Tartt once wrote: “The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, traveling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for the alone.” This Thanksgiving week, I’m grateful for all the stories I’ve been touched by myself, and incredibly grateful that it’s part of my job to send new stories out into the world, waiting to be found by whoever may need them.
These dolls will be heading off to the sweet children at an orphanage in Ghana and this amazing initiative that rescues children from Nepal’s prisons:
And these will be hospital buddies for children undergoing treatment for sickle-cell anemia at Grady Memorial Hospital
*case in point:
3 year old, while scribbling on paper: I’m writing a story!
Mother-in-law: Oh really? What’s your story about?
3 year old: I don’t know. I can’t read.
This entry was posted Saturday, November 24th, 2012 at 1:16 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.