I Want to Write About Family
This coming year, I want to write about family. The living, vibrant ones that are tied together with bonds thicker than blood. The ones that aren't perfect, but that cling to each other when life is difficult. The families that love each other more than anything.
While most of my characters don't have families, maybe I kind of want to change that. Whether it's their actual parents, siblings, or a family found and stitched together all by themselves, I want to write about that feeling of family--of a tight-knit group of people that would sacrifice anything for each other.
A trope in YA often is the parentless (and family-less) hero or heroine. This is because it's a lot harder for your characters to do exciting things when they have to be home by eleven o'clock PM. So I totally understand this. But at the same time, my favorite show when I was younger was Caillou, which showed the bonds of family. I liked it because I felt like it compared to my real life.
I think some people may be looking for the same thing in books, at least. While some of us may not have parents, it's rare not to have some sort of family--whether it's a mentor, a parental figure, or their best friend. I think it's time that families were upheld way more in YA fiction than they already are.
I want to write about families like mine. Families where I hear my mom playfully yelling about how my brother put wrestling on TV and trying to get him to change the channel. The ones where my mom sends me an email telling me to be at peace, that it will all be okay. The kind of family where my mom makes me get in the tub with candles and darkness, where my mom makes me just rest. The kind of family with vivacious little sisters that are almost too quick to keep up with because of all the joy they hold inside; families with brothers with orange and blue casts on their legs, and playful senses of humor, who can hardly wait to watch Breaking Bad every night. Families with dads who may have their own struggles, but still will always, always guide their children when they need him to, and be there for them even when he isn't doing well himself. Families with pets, with home-cooked meals, with homes to come home to and holidays spent around the table eating and laughing. Families with grandparents; grandmas and grandpas, aunts uncles and cousins, and tons of love to go around.
Families without parents or brothers or sisters or any clearly defined roles except they are there for each other and that's everything that counts. Families that are makeshift and messy, but the most incredible thing my characters have ever experienced. Families that spend time watching TV show marathons and sitting around bonfires and discussing Mere Christianity. Families that don't share genes, but don't have to, because their hearts are right at home and safe and loved and cared for. Families that make people feel like they belong.
With such heartfelt sentiments as these, it's shocking it's not utilized more in YA and in the world in general. It's high time the feeling of family -- no matter what shapes and sizes they come in -- is embraced more in fiction. At least in my fiction. And, in real life, too. I think writing and reading about families helps us appreciate our own. At least it has for me while writing this post. So that's why, this coming year, I want to write about family. Every single kind.
Actually, maybe the word I'm looking for is love. Not necessarily romantic love; instead, those most-encompassing, life-changing, heart-rending, warming-up-by-the-fire-with-people-dear-to-you kinds of love. The ones that wrap around you like a warm blanket, so that your whole life and being changes. The kinds of love that make you feel safe, warm, and okay. Yeah. That kind of love. That's definitely it. This year, I want to write about love.
What are your thoughts on the lack of family in YA? Most importantly, what do you want to write about this coming year?
This has been a scheduled post. Five days into recovery from my wisdom teeth. Yay!
My past self wishes my future self godspeed.