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Hearing Mr. Booker Speak

By, John Henry Davis

This week I had an extraordinary experience.

I had gone with my son Chris to hear the United States Senator Cory Booker speak. After a transformative and important speech, my son asked a question about how to balance compassion and anger in political discourse. And in that moment I felt a kind of flash through my whole body. My family was always engaged with politics and were compassionate and interested in that very question, and it was like a message traveled from my Grandmother through my parent through me into my son, who originated the question without any prompting from me. I was so proud of him and in significant awe of the whole experience.

In his speech, Mr. Booker discussed how to deal with the divisiveness of our politics right now, and he said it was easy to fall into hate, but the harder thing was to love.

Hard love. It struck me that this is exactly what my new YA novel is about—the difficulty of my loner female teen character to engage with others and learn the difficult lesson of hard love.

It’s in such moments that in engage with the world as writers we engage anew with ourselves, and our work becomes stronger.

In a post by my writing coach Art Holcomb, he emphasizes personal exploration, saying that writing is about being real, being authentic in what you say. So it’s important to go out and see the world and experience something new. This advice is important to the experience I had with my son and Cory Booker.

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