And again it's my turn to post, and my thoughts are taken up a tragedy that overshadows fiction. This pattern is too frequent, and once again I'm grateful for the stories in my life. When I wake up at night, I banish unwelcome thoughts by telling myself stories -- my own sometimes, but more often fantasies I read, where the evil is always vanquished in the end. A few years ago, Harry Potter got me through a personal loss. Last night I revisited Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters. Today I will cast around for another story that can fill my mind in the dark hours of morning.
At other times, fiction -- even, or especially, children's fiction -- can help us understand the unfathomable. For adult and child readers, I recommend Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine's 2010 middle-grade novel about a 10-year-old girl with Asperger's syndrome coping with her brother's death in a school shooting. For those of us seeking healing, Caitlin's struggle to understand her own feelings, interpret the emotions of others, and live in the midst of an irreplaceable loss resonate deeply.
When a terrible tragedy strikes, we all have trouble comprehending how and why. Like Caitlin, we are thrown out of our understanding of our own world, anthropologists on an unknown planet, visitors to an Otherworld where ordinary rules do not apply.