I'm writing this after Hurricane Isaac roared into coastal Mississippi and Louisiana, destroying lives and property. Many these days feel frustrated or fragile. Some judgmental people in other parts of the country wonder how we can live where hurricanes strike. We wonder how they can live around tornadoes, earthquakes, and crippling snow.
For all of us in this world, safety is an illusion we foster to keep ourselves sane. Of course, there are things people can do to minimize hazard. In areas prone to hurricane damage, people can evacuate to higher ground. They can raise their homes. In places prone to tornadoes, people should drill to find safe havens in the event of such a natural occurrence. All of these things are sensible precautions, but they are only that--precautions. For most of us in this world, we live with the belief that our lives will
drone on in a mundane fashion until we die in our beds. We rise in the morning, pack the kids off to school, head to work, and then head home in the midst of rush-hour traffic. Most of us also are not willing to face a stark reality: Our concept of safety is a manufactured idea. No matter what steps we can take to minimize danger, it is part of our daily lives. Some people live in the grip of war, fearing for their safety every day, and the reality is that any of us could find ourselves in the midst of war. All someone has to do is bomb us or fly planes into an iconic building, and we, too, are at war. Other people live in the grip of grinding poverty and crime. Our self-created concept of safety is as transient as the proverbial moth consumed by flame. We live in a world that is the antithesis of safety. Mad people walk into movie theaters, shooting innocents who have gathered to watch a film. Others walk into houses of worship, intent upon murder. Still other cold morons abuse their own children, placing those kids on a path to self-destruction. Other idiots pit dogs against each other in cruel fights. (I'd love to see them in the path of a hurricane with no shelter!)
My dad died when I was quite young. We had to leave the home I'd known since I was a child. Early on, I learned that things change and that things can be taken away from us. In my books, my characters also face this reality. In LOVE AT WAR, www.redrosepublishing.com, Nuala puts herself in harm's way to avenge the death of her husband. So determined is she to avenge his death that she willingly places herself in the arms of the enemy. For her, facing death is second to obtaining her revenge. In PIRATE WOMAN, www.redrosepublishing.com, Grainne O'Malley faces other pirates and stares down the gun barrels of her British oppressors in order to defend her family and clan. In THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW, www.redrosepublishing.com, Harley Michel faces a less tangible danger--danger to her heart. As a grieving widow, she must decide if she'll risk loving again. She places her soul and sanity at risk when she enters an internet dating site and meets a man who holds both promise and danger.
All of my protagonists faced risks, but they chose to take those risks and live life to the fullest, and that's my point in this post. We never know when danger will find us, but we have to live life fully. As Tennyson said in the persona of Ulysses, "I will drink life to the lees."