When Fiction Collides With Reality
By Elaine Stock
An author should be contemplative when the world news parallels her fictional story, especially when the novel is about hatred. Before I continue I must emphasize, writing this on the heels of the recent contentious race and vote for the new American president, these thoughts are not about who or why America voted for the President Elect. As an American citizen I voted; I’ve voted every election since I turned eighteen. I do not have to justify why I made my decision. Nor am I choosing to either clap you on the back or condemn you for your choice of who you see fit to become the next president. Really, when you think about it, voting is a constitutional right and it is no one’s business which candidate got my vote. Interestingly enough, the US Constitution was amended in 1870, post Civil War, to secure the vote for every citizen no matter one’s race, color, or previous servitude (unfortunately, this did not pertain to women until 1920).
My novel, Always With You, is a story about naive and desperate love against the backdrop of white supremacy. I’m a Christian and I’ve tried to paint this story within the medium of faith. When I first began to pitch the story (before I’d put it aside for a while; before I signed with my never-give-up literary agent) one person told me that white supremacy does not exist outside of The South. The denial that this type of hatred exists all over nearly stopped my heart. Hatred has existed between all ethnic groups and faiths and families since Day 1 of mankind.
What pushed me to write this piece is the USA TODAY headline “Rise in racist acts follows election” in its November 11-13 edition. Once again, this is not a commentary about pro or anti Hillary or pro or anti Donald. A picture showing a swastika sprayed painted on a softball field dugout in Wellsville, NY (don’t you just love ironies?) sliced through me. Check it out for yourself: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/11/10/racist-graffiti-greets-trump-win-across-usa/93584210/.
While the newspaper article discusses possible political reasons why hatred might be rearing its ugly head in America, what I want, all I want, is to promote love and respect between all human beings. It is time we insert the humanity part back into the word human.
See, I was brought up in a faithless home. Yet, as far back as I can remember, I believed in God. My early years had us living in a very poor Brooklyn neighborhood on the cusp of change and violence. You know what? I look back now and give thanks that I did get my start there because I learned first-hand what prejudice was all about. Believe me, there’s no win-win amongst hatred.
I’m presently working on a few other novels revolving around prejudice and hatred. One story is loosely based upon my own family heritage: my great-grandfather was Catholic and my great-grandmother was Jewish. What does that make me? I’m a Christian, by choice. Period. Yet, did you know that in WWII Poland—my family fortunately left Poland right before WWI broke out—Hitler’s mandates ordered that anyone with a trace of Judaism needed to be slaughtered? Meaning, it didn’t matter then if you were born into a Catholic family despite a long ago relative was Jewish. Nazism saw you as tainted and evil. You needed to be destroyed. On that note, many Polish Catholics were also seen as “sub-human.” So was a whole host of other people who didn’t make the cut of the Aryan “race.”
And now “Make America White Again” is once again spreading.
Is my novel Always With You fiction?
It’s not what the past has imprinted on you, but rather what you choose to do. I choose to love.
Go forth and be kind. To everyone.
When fiction collides with reality: choosing love and kindness over hatred. (Tweet This)
Is white supremacy a thing of the past? (Tweet This)
A swastika in your neighborhood? (Tweet This)