Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about change.
I’ve been going through a lot of changes in my personal life – in the last year my mother has died, my family has moved house and the children have moved school accordingly. The first book in the Phoenix series (Phoenix Rising) was published and the sequel will be going to print in December. I wrote a book that is coming out (in America) in November and sold another to Telos. I performed at the Edinburgh festival and have a number of events planned for the next couple of months. A lot of changes. I am not the same person I was a year ago.
This specific date, September 11th, has its own associations with great change. On this day, the world itself changed course.
It seems strange to me, as someone who remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when the news came in, that when I go into schools to speak to students they see this date as history, something that happened when they were babies or in some cases before they were even born. They don’t remember the world as it was before ‘the war on terror’, they know nothing else. To my generation the World Trade Centre attack isn’t history, so much as current events, the repercussions are still ongoing, changes are still being made.
As writers our central focus is change; we launch our protagonists into unfamiliar situations, we put bombs in the centres of their lives and make drastic changes to their worlds. Even as we struggle with the changes in our own lives, we forge our characters in the crucible of change with every stroke of the pen and force them to come out of the other side as different people. We think of the thing our characters most fear and put them through it, we give them challenges with every step; we make them grow as people by forcing them to face change.
Literature is all about change: how we deal with it and what it makes of us.
Change is scary, but change makes us into the people we are. Without change there can be no growth. As teenagers who going into new classes, new schools or even new cities this month, I hope you can embrace the changes you face, knowing there’s a whole new you waiting to emerge at the end of it.