I cried last night about Paris, about Beirut, about a shooting near the campus I teach at. There’s more than enough senseless violence in the world to break your heart today and for the rest of the week. For the rest of your life. I cried for the victims, and I cried for their families, and I cried for all of us falling asleep with more fear in our hearts than we’d had there in the morning.

In the middle of the night, my son had a nightmare. I was grateful–not, of course, for his worries, but that I could get into bed with him and smell his hair. That I could feel his lungs fill and empty, listen to the dub-Dub of his heart, and soak up the evidence that he, that I, were alive.

Fiction immerses the reader into someone else’s point-of-view. It permits us to share intimately someone’s joys and fears and hopes. As readers we take on a different set of skin with every book we open. And as writers we push past our own experiences to imagine other ways of being in the world.

I don’t know much, but I know that we share a common humanity. I know that mine is enriched by recognizing yours. I know that love is transformative and the world needs more of it. Whenever I’m tempted to turn away from the world, what I need is more love and empathy. Those, and not hate, are the roots of my humanity, and words can nurture it.

Author: Emma

Emma is a novelist, full-time mama, recovering academic, and former political staffer. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves her twins' hugs, her husband’s cooking, her cat’s whiskers, her dog’s tail, and Earl Grey tea.

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