Swoon Author Karole Cozzo: YA Fiction in Times Like These
2016 thus far has been a great year at Swoon Reads. The online community continues to grow and thrive, bringing new readers and writers together. New staff members have been added to bring their expertise to the team. And there are now 34 books either published or on their way to publication.
2016 thus far for the world outside of the Flatiron building… not so much.
Regardless of where your beliefs fall on the political and social justice spectrums, it's difficult to feel confident, content, or hopeful regarding our current path. So many issues to tackle, so many BIG, scary, sad, and difficult issues to tackle these days.
And to be honest, such issues can sometimes make the imaginary world of YA fiction feel a bit trite.
I've struggled with my place within this imaginary world. I've felt guilty that I have the luxury of escaping to a much more ideal world where I do have the power to ensure people believe the way they ought to and the power to manipulate situations to ensure happy outcomes. One plot path isn't taking them there? Backspace, delete, and we're right back on track! In Microsoft Word, it's so easy. And sometimes it leads me to ask—Should I be spending more time in the real world doing my part to impact outcomes, where's it's decidedly less easy? In times like these, should I be spending more time in the nonfiction world as opposed to the fictional? Is it selfish to feel excited about my upcoming release and the announcement of my third book as such grave events unfold around us? Should I be reading more informative articles and less teen romance? I've questioned these things, I have.
And the answer I've ultimately arrived at is… no. No, I should not feel guilty, no, I should not deprive myself of simple pleasures and personal joys. Because we all need a break, and if we don't take one, we wear ourselves out, run out of stamina to fight the big fights, whatever those fights are for each of us. To impact others, we have to take care of ourselves first; we need to make time for the silly, the happy, the frivolous. We have to make time for the good to remember what we're fighting for in the first place. It's not wrong to take a few minutes to recharge; it's very necessary. There's a difference between burying your head in the sand and taking a break.
So it's my belief that YA fiction most certainly has a place in times like these. Go read a book. See a movie. Watch reality TV. Recharge, refuel, smile. And then use that light and energy inside you to go out and change the world—by changing one person's day, week, world. It's about balance. And we all need balance if we have any hope of working together to eventually tip the scales back in favor of the good in people and the universe.
Read on. Love on. Write on. RIGHT ON.