On the Reading Table-Hard Love

Writing is an act of faith. We sit in our homes, offices and huts, alone, creating worlds with people, problems and emotions. We tell stories and hope, hope, hope they mean something to someone. Then we take a break and we read. (For me, this is like permission to go out to recess.) If you are a writer, you must read. Why? Because we need to know how other writers created their worlds. It informs how we create ours. And for me, sometimes, when I read certain books, they sustain me in my act of faith because the fabric that writer wove is similar in texture, weight and truth to the one I would like to create. Such was my experience with Ellen Wittlinger‘s Hard Love–a beautiful story about about a boy whose first love is a hard love because the girl, Marisol, is a lesbian. That sentence reduces story way too much because what Wittlinger does is create a finely textured and truthfully woven world from the point of view of John, a young ‘zine writer who’s in that awkward teenage place of hating the world he was born into and not sure in which world he belongs.

I probably would have come to this book eventually but the reason I purchased it at Half Price Books was because my friend Varian Johnson said it was THE book which helped him know that he wanted to be a young adult writer. I can see why. I can also see that Varian brings that same level of truth to his books.

Yes. Writing is an an act of faith, a leap into the unknown wilds of the blank page. I love that I can turn to the pages of other writers making that same leap and sense our comaraderie, as we tap along alone in our homes, offices and huts.

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