Friday, February 28, 2014

In Sickness and in Health

O.M.G. I'm actually going to discuss writing and books on my blog today. I don't think I've done that in awhile because my life has been in such chaos lately, but yes, here I go.

Tonight I head up to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP), which happens to be in Seattle this year, as tomorrow I will be on a panel titled, In Sickness and in Health: Writing about Illness and Loss for Young Adults.

"Sick - lit" as it's been so charmingly nicknamed has been quite a hot topic in the last year and the subject of controversy. Some people think we as writers have a cavalier attitude toward the dark subjects such as death, suicide and self-harm, and we are doing teens a disservice by writing about these subjects during a time when they are more apt to go through them.

Yet others believe that teen should be reading about the issues that they are sure to relate to at their age, that reading isn't purely about escapism, it's also about thinking and feeling and having characters you can relate to.

What is your opinion on the subject?

I think you know where I stand as someone who has written about death and
self-harm. I also have an unpublished book about a school shooting. Life isn't always pretty and it doesn't always have a happy ending. Are we doing our teenagers a favor by shielding them from the hard things in life? Things they will have to face, whether it's them, one of their friends or family members.

Shit happens. You can't hide from it, so why not face it head on.

If you're attending AWP, my panel is from 1:30-2:45 at the Washington State Convention Center, Room LL5, Western New England MFA Annex, Lower Level.

Other panel members are Roberta Borger. She is the one who assembled the panel. She is pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at Chatham University. Selene Castrovilla, Jolene Perry, and Katherine Ayres.

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