Tuesday, November 25, 2008
When you write books like The Body in the Record Room, you face real problems. Roy Rogers is gone, and for many people, basically forgotten. Most of the large mental hospitals have been torn down. They too are a part of history. And even more than that, who wants to read about such a difficult place as a mental hospital?
And yet the stories and the people really matter. My characters are fictional, but the actual patients I grew up with were real people with real problems. Often they were abused by family or by friends. They were sometimes incarcerated unfairly. And often they acted with strength and courage.
And there were those who loved them, those who worked hard to make a terrible situation as good as it could be.
So I knew this book was an uphill battle from the first. But I believed that people’s stories matter. I believed that if my characters worked together to fight evil and to draw strength from their own heroes, some people would want to read this book.
And that’s how it has turned out. People are reading the book. It is in all kinds of libraries, which truly pleases me. The book has received generally good reviews.
The thing that made me think of this is that I watched a Roy Rogers movie today. That movie was made in 1939, almost seventy years ago. Roy Rogers was 28 years old. He was born in 1911. Though that movie was made before I was even born, the story in that movie, the story of The Arizona Kid, mattered to me. It is a good movie. I would watch it again.
Good stories really matter.
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