Monday, August 26, 2013

Hey, It Could Happen

First off, Happy Back To School all you Back To School-ers!
And congratulations on starting another school year, which means you survived the last one, or also possibly means your kids survived the last one, or also, also possibly means you survived teaching the last school year...
I'm just trying to get all the angles here, people.
It's that time of year again. Buff up your red apples and sharpen your pencils. If you can believe it, we've got MORE knowledge to stuff into our brains.
Let me start out this new beginning by making a bold and ambitious statement...
because all good new beginnings warrant a bold and ambitious statement, if you ask me.
I am hereby deciding that it is my goal for the new semester to make sure I post at least one blog post a week.
One blog post a weeeeeek!

But now to get to the reason for my blog post title.
I try not to get too personal on the blog. I like to share my interests (yes, mostly including books) and other positive things that happen in my life. Or pictures. Or poetry.Or food. Or things that are really old and really cool.
Well, this one's going to be a bit different, and definitely a bit personal. But stay with me, folks, just stay with me.
So let's get to it.
I had another period of MIA-ness these past few weeks of summer because of a rather dramatic event that happened in my life. On June 29th, my parents and 13 year old sister were in a serious car accident while driving to visit me at my new place in Santa Barbara for the first time.They were on the I-5 when they were hit from behind by a drunk driver and rolled anywhere from 2-10 times (yes, sounds strange, I know, but no one's really confirmed a number yet) off the freeway, thankfully landing upright on all four wheels. My dad was hurt the worst; he was airlifted out with a head injury, aspirated lungs, and multiple broken bones in his left hand and forearm. My mom had broken ribs, a broken and dislocated arm, and fractured bones in her right foot. My sister escaped with only cuts on her right arm, which certainly weren't pretty but healed good and quick, and a sprained ankle. Dad was in ICU and rehab for about six weeks total, Mom was out by July 19th, Banana was only in for 3 days.
Most important thing?
They are all out of the hospital now. Healthy and recovering.

I was considering not writing about this on the blog at all--too personal, too dreary, too tender of a spot to touch. But things are calming down. I am back in Santa Barbara in my little cubby-hole of a room trying to find a job and fit in reading, writing, and research, getting ready for fall semester to start. For me, most of the healing process of going through a traumatic experience like this is on a mental level. The fact that I could have, as fast as you can snap your fingers, become an orphan and lost my baby sister too is finally starting to feel like a real thing. I've learned from this experience that I take a while to fully process difficult realities. I hold my emotions in. I try so hard to be strong and positive for others. But this has negative repercussions as well. You have to cry sometime, and that's when family and friends come in. I came out of this experience a different person, humbled, matured, determined to grow up. And I realize that growing up is something I haven't really been able to understand until now. I'm sure I got a lot more growing up to do; after all, I'm 20, but this experience has definitely given me a push off the diving board.

But like so many other things that happen in my life, regardless of importance, this experience made me see something I love, literature, in a new light. Have you ever read on the back of a book that the poor kid's parents died in a car accident?
My reaction would normally be, "Car accident, how original."
Which I don't necessarily feel bad for thinking, per say, because a lot of authors and movie makers use that story line. But now I can't help but think, Hey, it happens.
It happened to me.
I was just lucky enough to not become an orphan, something I'm grateful for every day. But if I think that when I read about the orphaned kid from the car accident then what do I say to the back of the book with the kid with divorced parents? The evil step-mother? The typical swoony boy? The summer that changes everything?
These things happen. They are real. Fantasy is great, it's one of my favorite genres in fact. I love a good post-apocalyptic dystopian as much as the next Hunger Games fan. And these genres can incorporate these serious, real-life subjects just as beautifully.
I think it's our job as readers to understand this and not dismiss things just because they're ordinary or commonplace, because what is literature?
I'd like to say it's the ability of a writer to use their words to make the ordinary extraordinary, and I mean this in it's purest definition. A word is just a word, but used in the right context it can become art. The littlest thing in life can be art, a walk to the park, a trip to the post office, heck, even traffic if a writer can pull it off. The biggest things can be art too, like a major car accident.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that when it comes down to it, a book might appear to be ordinary, and perhaps it really just is, but it might also be extraordinary.
And remember, it--whatever "it" may be--could happen to anyone. Be grateful you have those you love.
And, as a rule, always...
Carpe diem.

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