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When I think about what messages I want to convey when I write, I am compelled, for some reason, to write about struggle. The things that result from struggle are the things that make us real and raw, no pretenses, no façade. When you are wading through the mud, you go from wanting designer heals to wanting sturdy, water resistant boots. That’s what I like. I like to see people’s focus shift. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with liking nice shoes, I’m just making the point that necessity changes us. It makes us more aware of what really matters. Struggle forces us to think about necessity, and it motivates us to look for greater insight and answers. What that looks like for me is more sincere prayer and a deeper awareness that I am in need of divine help in order to handle well what comes my way. Lily is a woman who was acquainted with the true essence of struggle from the very beginning, and it left her a woman who craved depth and genuine love. She learned early on that things mean nothing and people mean everything, and what she wants more than anything is to create for her own family what was never provided to her as a child.
I believe that many people, if not most, are the result of their nurturing, or lack thereof. It is exceptional when you meet someone who defies the odds and does what is unexpected, one who decides she wants something different than what the psychology books predicts will happen based on life experiences. This is why I admire Lily. She is exceptional despite the fact that she’s not “supposed” to be. Lily believes that love is the answer to all of life’s problems, and even if it isn’t, it’s at least worth a try.
When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized - to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.
Enjoy an excerpt:
I’ve only been in this cell for three days, but it feels like a might lot longer than that. I know what I did wasn’t considered proper by most folks down here in the South, but I don’t regret doin’ it. And I’d do it again, if I had the chance. Charlie never did anything wrong. He’s just colored. Not much he can do about that, and even if he could, I suppose he wouldn’t want to anyhow. I didn’t feel it right that Charlie be ignored when all he came to do was buy feed and tools like the rest of us. So when Eli Carver said he don’t take no “colored” money, I thought it best to point out that he must be blind as a bat since Charlie’s dollar and my dollar are both the same shade of green. And when I held the two right in front of Mr. Carver’s face and politely asked him to show me the difference, he later told Sheriff Coleman I was threatenin’ and causin’ a disturbance. When I heard that, it just made my blood boil, and I decided Eli Carver needed to be taught a lesson. I went back to that store, although Charlie tried to get me to leave it be, but the next thing I knew, I was holdin’ Eli a foot off the ground against the door to his very own supply store. If Sheriff Coleman hadn’t been right there, I might have been able to argue my side, but there’s no point arguin’ against proof and common sense. Besides that, Sherriff Coleman is known for his feelin’s about colored people, so I knew I was beat before I started. I suppose I just didn’t care.
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