On November 10th, 2016 I sat down to work on Treading Waves back before it was Treading Waves. Back before it was much of anything but a stack of notecards and a promise to tell a story. But I couldn’t do it. I just stared at the page with tears in my eyes much like they are now as I sit remembering it. So I posted this…
I truly felt devastated, betrayed by 52% of women in America, hopeless about a future that had suddenly become scarier for anyone but white men, and pointless. For me personally, I felt like my work was so pointless at this time.
I mean… Mermaids?!
Of all the things I could be doing… I was writing about mermaids. I felt like a fool.
But the outpouring of support I received… Wow. It had me crying, once again, in my favorite coffee shop. *They’re used to it by now. I’ve cried in this coffee shop more that I like to admit*
Holly came in strong and perked me up right away… Mostly she got me thinking.
This overcoming evil people nugget really stuck with me. It was the beginning seed that was blossoming to change my frame of mind.
And then Kyle got me motivated…
Kristine hit it home. She brought up her daughter and the waterworks resumed. This is who I’m writing these for. The daughters. Those that are looking for a safe path through the brambled forest.
She also told me to use my words to deliver a message. But I wanted to dive deeper into the concept of using my feelings through all this.
Using your personal pain/love/trauma/blessings/love/joy/anger to fuel your art is something artists talk about that all the time. Some very beautiful art comes out of personal pain. I often talk about using my work with youth to keep me on track when I write. This is for them, after all.
But I’ve never worked with anger. With hopelessness. It felt daunting and devastating. I actually spent 2017 in a major depression that was only partially fueled by our new president but was a combination of many things. Hopelessness abounded for me that year and I was supposed to write about mermaids??
I watched women march in Washington. I watched children taken away from their parents and locked in cages. I watched black lives continue not to matter. I watched as my own friends experienced heightened racism because the racists felt so empowered. I watched it all.
And I used it.
*I also donated money and did active things and supported active people but that’s not what this is about, but please don’t think I just watch.*
Because of these last couple of years Treading Waves turned into more than just mermaids. It’s more than my depression or my hopeless feelings. The characters are more than words. This story turned into a motivating force… Into standing up for change. This is my favorite book yet and I hope my personal journey comes through to the readers.
I tread those fucking waves.
You can too.