Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jennifer Gracen: Rebellions are built on hope

You might recognize that line by now. I saw Rogue One over its opening weekend, being the lifelong Star Wars fan that I am. And this already-sure-to-be-classic line stood out, especially with the political chaos going on in America. It’s been a rough year for all of us. That election beat the hell out of us as a nation. So yeah, that line really resonated with me.

And you know what? I’ll tell you a secret. It was hard to write after November 8th, with all that noise. It was hard to think about love stories—stories about light, romantic love, having faith in others—in the face of so much discord, vitriol, fear, and disappointment. For a few weeks, I was as down as many others were, and it affected my work. I didn’t much feel like writing (or doing much of anything, some days).

But recently, I saw that awesome movie, that inspiring line kept rolling through my mind over and over... and another thought bloomed and took hold: Know what else is built on hope? Love stories.

Romance novels are about many things, but you can’t have one without hope. At first, it’s the characters’ hope of finding something more in life, be it a new career, a second chance, a new home, or finding love. Then, once the hero and heroine have found each other and sparks ignite, they hope they’ll be able to make it work. And they hope that this connection is real, and mutual, and sustainable... and they hope that once they’ve started to head down that path, they won’t lose their way, or each other, or what they have together.

So if you think about it, yes, romance novels are all about love, but they’re also all about hope, aren’t they?

And that’s why writers need now, more than ever before, to keep writing them.

Love stories bring much needed hope and light into the dark places. People need assurances of happy endings now more than ever, and romance novels are one of the only things that can guarantee them that. Love stories bring people a much needed escape from reality for a little while, but they also empower readers as they make them feel better.

So yes, with that in mind, I’m happy to say I got back to writing. Because I’m going to do my tiny part to keep bringing hope to others, with words and love— both on the page, and in my life. Hope floats.

Jennifer Gracen

1 comment:

dstoutholcomb said...

What the world needs now is love, sweet love...