So instead of writing, I find myself stealing every spare moment to read. To escape to a world where the stakes were life and death and where an impossibly good boy tries to save the love of his life. The parallels I draw, however real or not real, leave me on the brink of tears. The pain of being in a situation over which you have no control, of seeing someone you love die, of being left to care for those who can't care for themselves - that grief reaches me in a way that embarrasses me to admit.
Peeta Mellark, Photo by Murray Close, via The Hunger Games movie promotional site
In a trio of novels meant for teenagers, I find a refuge. I recall the moment in Literary Theory class where Dr. Schweizer revealed Yeats' theory on masks. I look behind Suzanne Collins' mask as I relive the moment when the heart monitor stopped and remember staring into the eyes that wouldn't close. Katniss' memories of the mine explosion touch me in a place that didn't exist for me a year ago. The human experience of searing loss and then facing the challenge of going on is the reason I keep reading.
I wake up before my alarm, firing up my Kindle to squeeze in one more chapter. I wait til the next train so that I can read longer on the platform and hopefully get a seat on the next. The building security guard asks me what chapter I'm on when I board the elevator, Kindle in hand. I arrange my lunch schedule to meet Katniss on her quest.
As with so many of my favorites, love and goodness win out in the end. This is the hope. It keeps us going. For Katniss it's the dandelion and the boy with the bread. For me, I'm still waiting for my sign. I'm hungry for the day I write my epilogue on this season. The one where the hope is realized.