On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I came across these signs on a wall in the Animal Kingdom. The wall surrounded a new project being constructed in the park. No one could see the new project, just the wall surrounding it. It was camouflaged very well—for a huge building-sized anomaly in the heart of Africa. The cream wall held several motivational sayings such as this, but otherwise was pretty nondescript.
Then I realized that this poster translated very well to what we do as authors—and moms. As a mom, I don't want my kids exposed to the seedier, sadder, uglier parts of the world and do my best to show the world at its best, hoping my kids will strive to keep those images in their minds as they travel through this journey called life. Sure, they get exposed to hurtful people, sad images, and events, but I don't allow those people and places to take up much space and time in my children's journey when I can help it.
I teach my kids that we can minimize such things by giving some thought to where we choose to be, how we choose to behave, how we choose to react to, and what we choose to embrace. At the same time that they don't choose the worst, they can be empowered by choosing to be in good places, read wonderful literature, listen to amazing music, attend uplifting events.
As authors, we transport readers into "our worlds." Those worlds ideally are not without conflict or any more perfect than the "real" world, but while there, we want our readers to see and hear and feel a story we want to share. Each author has a different motivation for the story they write, and each reader will perceive it differently yet than the author intends—and that's okay—and even the point. That's what makes it personal to the reader and helps them connect to a story they choose to read.
Tracy Hickman, an internationally best-selling author for over thirty years, points out that authors are the only artists who cannot fully see and appreciate how their art affects the beholder—simply because the their art plays out on the stage in the reader's mind. But if we do it well enough, the performance touches the reader's heart.
And when a heart is touched, there is no limit to the good that can be done.