Caring About Strangers
I love the Internet for so many reasons. It makes researching a book so much easier than it used to be. I can be in touch with experts in minutes. I can Google absolutely anything. I can chat with old friends. But one of the most fascinating facets of the Internet is our ability to connect with strangers.
My work-in-progress, The Midwife’s Confession, has a character with leukemia. She doesn’t have a central role, but she’s important. To understand her and her family better and to educate myself to her medical treatment, I began reading the many blogs about children with leukemia. I finished that research about a month ago, but there was one blog I’d stumbled across that I’m still reading. That’s because I came to care about the girl at its center. She and her family don’t know me and I don’t know them, but every day I check her blog for news about her, praying that it’s good. I worry about her and I marvel–absolutely marvel–at her strength and that of her family. Where do people find such courage and endurance? Her family is loaded with love and that comes through in every post.
I realize that’s what I write about in my stories: love and courage. I saw so much love and courage in my former career as a medical social worker and psychotherapist and it inspires every story I tell. But this post is not about my books. It’s about our ability to connect with people we don’t know. To care about them and worry about them and imagine ourselves in their shoes. The Internet can be a place filled with negativity–porn, kids bullying other kids, scams, identity theft. But it can also be a place filled with compassion, education and connections between strangers. My character will be all right, and I want the same outcome for the little girl who teaches me every day that we’re all in this together.
I totally agree, Diane! There are SO many amazing and inspiring stories we might never know were it not for the Internet.
A beautiful post Diane…why else are we on this earth if not for love, compassion and to help others…the internet
reaches out to all of us and is a great teacher.
There it is……empathy. That is what sets you apart from others in your writing. Why your readers feel that they (I) can connect with you. Thank you for being who you are.
Love this post…it is who you are…
For those of you who have not read the little book WEDNESDAY LETTERS…it is a joy…I plan to loan it to several…what an eye opener…
I told Kay about what you have written here – she’s not feeling so good at the moment. We’re both very moved. Thank you.
Thank you for writing these lovely words. I think there’s more love out there than we sometimes realise in these confusing times. I am drawn to also think about those bone marrow donors who are giving hope to others in their darkest hours. I reflect on the idea that this world is full of generous amazing strangers who enrich ourlives from afar, in whatever style or through whatever medium they chose to do it.
So sorry to hear about this little girl. It breaks my heart, especially for children, since I have 2 young girls. Ever since I had children, the world changed for me, it seems like everything I do, feel, think about, consider has my children and all children in mind, even in books.
I will keep her and her family in my prayers tonight. WE have a little friend – Jeremy – who is 7 and has been battling leukenia for over 2 yrs now. He is the sweetest boy you will ever be. He is so brave bt has gone through so much. He is doing well though, thank God. At his last b-day party in Jan., we met some of his friends from the hospital and some just break your heart, all with leukemia too, and a few, Jeremy’s mom has told me did not make it.
Again, so sorry about it. Isn’t the internet wonderful for connecting people, helping one another, creating bridges when you need, the positive side of the net is amazing and I’ve even made a couple of book friends through your site Diane and I love talking book and life with them. This connection has been important to me right now with a few things that I am involved that has brought positive results and made me very happy to be connected.
I look forward to reading your book when it is out.
Best of luck!!
How true it is Diane!! And I could not agree more with Debbie your empathy is what draws me to your books. I share the same empathy. I always just wish there was more I could do. One of the guys in my husband’s fire department has a granddaughter with lukemia. She was diagnosed just before she turned two and it was a long hard road, but then she went into remission and has been doing great for the past five years. We just got word that it is back and my heart breaks for her and her family everytime I look at one of my own little girls. I figure one of the best things I can do is teach my children to reach out and help where they can so this November my 10 year old twin daughters will be selling jewlrey at the local craft fair to rase money for Jada and her family.