Show of hands. Anyone else find it hard to keep going? I know, I know. So many of us, right? It’s been a difficult month. Earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, and floods. Natural disasters of great magnitude. I can speak for Houstonians when I say that we have all been affected in some way.
But yesterday, what happened in Las Vegas was not a natural disaster. There is nothing natural about a madman gunning down people like wooden ducks in a shooting gallery. This was supremely unnatural. And unfathomable. As a kid lit writer, I find it hard to keep writing. I know I’m not alone. The world seems to be falling apart in front of us, and I sit at my desk writing silly little stories. It seems useless. It seems almost embarrassing to write about trivial things. I feel like I need to do more.
But then I think. Many of my stories and those of my kid lit colleagues are really about compassion, kindness, and acceptance. Could they help one child in these difficult times? And many stories are just fun. And of course, we could use a lot more fun right now. So, we need to keep going. It doesn’t make the tragedies less tragic. Our continuing doesn’t blot the memories of those who died. Our work will not negate the horrors. But maybe they will help make the world a little kinder. And most importantly, perhaps our stories, poems, art, or whatever we produce, will make a child smile. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Yes, it’s so hard to keep going. But that is exactly why we need to. This isn’t just about writers, or teachers, or artists. We all contribute something to society. And whatever it is that you contribute, now is the time to keep doing it. As Rabbi Hillel said thousands of years ago, “If not now, when?”