On Writing: Why Story is Necessary (3)

by Jodi McKay

static1.squarespaceI can’t imagine what it would be like to be a child in the world today. How confusing and scary everything must seem. It makes me angry that their reality is so harsh, but what can I do about it?

I can create a place where hate doesn’t dare exist. A place where giggles, guffaws, and the occasional chortle always win the fight against fear, and acts of kindness outnumber violence a gazillion to one. I can build a world where change is possible, not just because someone wants it, but because they actually do something to make it happen. I can construct a space that inspires imagination and promotes free-thinking ideals. I can create a place that kids want to come back to because it’s safe and makes them simply feel happy. I can write a book.

Kids need something better than what this world is giving them right now and I believe that books, specifically and lovingly written just for children, provides them with a way out of the craziness. So, if there is ever anything I can do to improve the life of a child in the world today, it would be to write a book so that is what I will do.


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8 responses to “On Writing: Why Story is Necessary (3)

  1. Linda and Jodi, thank you for addressing this topic. Jodi your post is well thought out and true. I often think of these things when I think about what reading meant to me as a kid. I grew up in the inner city of Chicago in what was truly a war zone at times. I remember running from the playground when I heard gunshots and ducking away from windows. This is so ingrained that if I hear fire crackers unexpectedly, or a car backfire, I will duck or fall to the ground today. I can’t count how many kids that I’ve known that have died from gun violence. Once, I tried to. I stopped. The number was devastatingly high. Some of these kids I knew of. Many of these kids I knew. A few, I loved dearly. One in particular, because he was my younger brother. Stories tell us the world is bigger than us, and for me to retain my sanity, and not succumb to the poverty and violence around me, I had to believe the world was bigger than what I was living, and that it was better. As a kid, the stories I read gave me the power to adapt and survive, and I will always be grateful to the writers who chose write them.

  2. Yes! Kids deserve joy and humor and lightheartedness! Thank you for this.

  3. Agreed! Sometimes it is difficult to stay in our “happy place” and write when so much sadness is around, but I think it’s even more important now to do this. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. What you said speaks to why I read escapist, humorous and generally upbeat speculative fiction instead of realistic fiction as a child and an adult. The world *is* scary and sad enough!

  5. kathalsey

    You have echoed my feelings on writing for children! Thank you, Merry Christmas and let’s make a better world for children everywhere.

  6. doriskstone

    Jodi, you’re so right. Kids need a place to feel safe, laugh and get away from the real world. I’m printing this post and will read it often. It’s a powerful reminder of the influence of books on children. Thanks so much!

  7. Well said, Jodi! Your message is one that we need to remember when writing for children. Thank you!

  8. Great post. Jodi! I am so thankful that we get to write books that help children (and us) escape from the darkness of this world! 🙂