Hi everybody! I invited author Laura Anderson Kurk to guest post today. I asked her to tell us a little about where the inspiration for her new novel Glass Girl came from. Enjoy!
I have a daughter. I have a son, too, and he’s wonderful and relaxed and oh so smart, a carbon copy of his dad. But here I want to tell you about my daughter. Her name is Amelia and she is eleven and lovely and so full of becoming that sometimes my heart breaks being near her. I know conflict will come and I am so afraid that I will mess up with her and forget to tell her all the ways a woman’s life is beautiful and all the ways a woman’s life is difficult. I’ll just forget.
Besmilr Brigham says, in her perfect poem “Tell Our Daughters,” that we should:
tell our daughters they are
fragile as a bird
strong as the rose
deep as a word
and let them make
their own growing time
big with tenderness
We are “big with tenderness” in this family. Tenderness, for Amelia, manifests itself with frequent stomach aches, worries that seem close enough to grab but never really materialize, and dreams of things that might befall those she loves best. The apple never really falls far from the tree, does it? And I have been teaching myself to grow a stronger trunk all my life. Now I must teach Amelia. I fear I’m ill-equipped.
Out of my fear, came my novel, Glass Girl. It is a letter, I think, to future Amelia. Not that I believe, or would ever even breathe the possibility, that what happens to my main character, Meg, would happen to my daughter. But it is what we must do as mothers, right? Put voice to our fears, our what-ifs that whisper in the night, so that someday our daughters will say, “Yes, my mother warned me this might happen.” We must say to them—prepare, prepare, guard your heart and fill it with faith and hope.
Because we all know that the rains will come. Sometimes the rains are gentle, almost welcome relief from all our sunshine. The sad times that make our happy ones happier. But sometimes the rains are gully washers and we have to look for our salvation from the angry waters. I want it to be her Lord who plucks her from the floods of her life, not man or anything made by man. So I tell her now, every night as she falls asleep, that her help comes from the Lord, and as she drifts away, she pats my arm. Comforting me, comforting her.
Writing, for me, feels like I’ve found the valve that can release some of the pressure that builds up inside just from living in this world. I’ve got room inside to breathe again if I write. All the unresolved conflicts of the past and the hopes for the future collide and become something new, something better.
I love to write for teen girls. I remember feeling uncomfortable during every single one of my teenage years. Did you feel that, too? Did you just put one foot in front of the other, never really understanding where you were headed? I find it ironic that it is during those strange, alien years, that we understand faith the best. We really get that we have to fix our eyes on what is unseen. Because, let’s face it, what is seen during those years isn’t much to look at.
Glass Girl takes an honest look at a family surprised by grief after the loss of a son. Meg, an exquisitely tender girl, begins this journey without faith, but take heart, she makes it. She finds the truths being revealed to her through her reality. She reaches out a hand and God takes it. She meets Henry, a boy with a hard-earned maturity and a deep water faith, and he loves her. This isn’t a spoiler, really, because it’s the gentle unfolding of Meg’s soul that happens in the middle of the story that keeps you turning pages.
There are teens in our midst who are trying to do the right thing but still feel lost at times. Peer pressure, meet good intention. Good intention, meet peer pressure. I hope Glass Girl will add to the body of stories that encourage these kids. The stories that demand that they aim a little higher, expect a little more, and think a little deeper. Because that’s what I want for my Amelia as she begins this dance of adolescence that spins so quickly into adulthood. I wrote Glass Girl for my own daughter and I hope you’ll share it with yours.
I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on Facebook (Laura Anderson Kurk and Glass Girl) and at www.laurakurk.com.
Laura, thank you so much for sharing your story!