I was raised in the disease of poverty.
Imagine, beginning at the bottom of a big, dark hole. Desolate, except for the light at the top, and the champions standing too high to reach. They claim that with the slightest bit of effort anyone can climb up. Ropes are thrown down and they cheer encouraging words, frustrated that no one is willing to meet them halfway, but another dynamic plays out below that only the people living it really understand.
To climb not only abandons a way of life, but also a way of thinking. It’s an uphill battle of tremendous weight that doesn’t end when you reach the top.
Twenty years ago, I personally took this journey, and everything I am today is molded through a shattered lens of two perceptions. Poverty is a part of me, reflected in the eyes of the loved ones who remain in shadow, neither capable nor willing to reach the light. I feel a sense of guilt, and relief when I consider how easily I could’ve remained there too.
This knowledge is stained glass remnants from which I forge the window of my work. I see the world in a stark contrast of pain and joy. I’m colored with remorse for those I have lost, and shaded in fear that I may still fall back into the depths. There are days when I wonder how I ever managed to climb in the first place, but then I look back at all my effort, and understand. My origins do not define me, no more than anyone else. We are all slaves to our own thoughts. Inadequacies are the same in every walk of life, and this knowledge paints me with the slightest glimmer of hope and redemption. Looking through the pieces I can see all angles, and understand that black and white isn’t always as cut and dried as they appear to be. I like to think this unique perspective makes me a better writer.
My novel, Copper Reign, the first book of the Heartstone Collection is releasing through 48Fourteen. To give the story depth, I studied an array of belief systems. Many different faiths speak of the path of the soul: To understand the light one must first know darkness, and then choose which aspect to augment… I like to think this means the worst facets of humanity can be explored, and with compassion, eventually be overcome.
This idea took on a life of its own, creating a beautiful coming of age story between Nina and Nate, highlighting the power of unconditional love. There’s also demons, and angels, and a Native American god disguised as a devastatingly beautiful rock star. Each set of characters are dealing with their own baggage, and have challenges to face. Oh! And an old dude who could possibly be the mighty creator also makes a cameo appearance. Like anyone climbing out of darkness, their mindset determines their outcome.
I was raised in a disease, but my origins do not define me. I can take my shattered pieces and forge a beautiful stained glass window to view the world in many lights. I am now a champion staring down, and shouting encouraging words.
Meet me halfway, and I’ll hold the rope.