The other day I was getting ready for bed late because I’d stayed up longer than I should have because I was watching Risoli and Isles, a cop show about two women who are strong, independent women who have careers and take care of themselves.
I bring this up because I was contemplating why I’d stayed up late watching this show that, while I like it, it isn’t my favorite show in the world. It’s not thought provoking and I never come away from it feeling empowered or inspired. I’m simply entertained. Which is good, important even, but what I realized is that I liked it because I could see myself in it, or at least someone like me, I could relate to the character. I’ve had a job since I was twelve and have been supporting myself, and even lending support to those I care for all my life, like these two ladies.
It got me to thinking about writing and how there has been a lot of discussion about race or sexual orientation in the types of books that I write, Young Adult. And I’ve never really weighed in on either side. I have always put the faces and characteristics of the people I like on the characters I read about and I assumed most others did this also, but have learned not everyone has the same type of imagination I do.
So after my epiphany I think it is probably very important for people, especially in their formative years to see themselves in books, or more importantly people they can identify with doing and being the things they themselves would like to. Not just role models, but people in their same or similar situations doing well, making right or wrong choices and learning and growing from them.
A perfect example for me is Bones, one of my favorite shows. Over the years I’ve watched Brennan, a woman who could be considered an island grow into someone who formed incredible relationships with friends, co-workers and even men and estranged family. She has learned to allow them into her life and her heart. She has let them see her and share in her joys and her heartbreaks, all the while being a strong woman people can respect and look up to.
I struggle with a lot of the same things she has, and I’m always inspired and touched when I watch the show. Best of all, I always come away from it with hope. I’ll feel like a success if I can provide that same feeling to even one person with the books I’ve written or those I will write in the future.
What are your thoughts?