Friday, January 20, 2017

The glass is half full of lemonade made from the lemons life gave you


The joke goes:

Did you hear that I got married?"
"Oh, that's good."
“No, that's bad! He’s ugly."
"Oh, that's bad."
"No, that's good! He’s rich enough that it doesn’t matter.”
"Oh, that's good."
"No, that's bad! Being rich made him lousy at sharing."
"Oh, that's bad."
"No, that's good! He’s saved so much, he bought me a mansion.”
"Oh, that's good."
"No, that's bad! The mansion burnt down."
"Oh, that's bad."
"No, that's good! He was in it.”

We can never know what bad will come from something good and what good will come from something bad.

Like after my mom died, my sister, my dad, and I all grew much closer.

But how do we embody this? When big things go wrong in our lives, they knock us down. Health problems, money problems, the death of someone we love. It’s natural to fall apart afterwards, for a long time, even.

If someone hurts me, I don’t immediately think, oh, GOOD, something amazing will come out of this.

Recently, my agent told me that the diverse characters in WIP might put me in the crossfire in the debate over cultural appropriation. Apparently, living in Hawai’i and working there for twelve years doesn’t count. Or having two children born there. In any case, after reading her email, I didn’t think, “Yay! What an opportunity!!!” But after wallowing for weeks, I picked myself off the floor.

First I talked to my friends that are also people of color to get their perspective.
Then I approached a couple writers of color that I know. I asked a lot of questions, to better understand the issue. They asked me questions back.
Why are you telling this story?
Is this your story to tell?

I talked and read and pondered a long time before deciding it was my story to tell.
Then I reached out to friends in Hawai’i, some writers, some civilians.

One friend introduced me to Puna Kalama Dawson, a great grandma. Over the phone, Puna told me stories about her family. She offered to read my book to make sure I got it right. She knew someone else who should read it, too.

After we talked, I read some articles about her and found this quote. “Let us build these bridges of friendship that will blanket the earth.”


And that is something good. Mahalo nui loa.


3 comments:

  1. Fascinating look at something most never even think of. Thank you.

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  2. Lovely. Can't wait to read this one.

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  3. Oh course this is your story to tell and I hope the world gets to read it! :)

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