I remember when the calendar year turned 2015, I had just come through a horrible time period in my personal life…a terrible stretch of time consuming 2 1/2 years that had essentially sucked the otherwise lively and vibrant soul right out of me. By Summer of 2014, I didn’t even know who I was anymore. But by Midnight of January 1st, 2015, that familiar feeling of rare invincibility had won the day at last. And as my husband kissed me at Midnight, I knew we were on our way to blue skies and hummingbirds.
I was furiously writing my first novel at that time, a life long dream unleashed in a torrid, rapid firing squad, straight from my heart. I had something to say, dammit, and I was going to say it. I had so much healing to do and wounds to bandage at last, a place where only writing invites itself to do its work. That is my medicine, after all. Why it took me so many years to take it like a strong syrup, I don’t know. I suppose because Scout’s Honor needed to bake for awhile, rise in the oven a bit, get darker around the edges and softer in the middle.
Sometimes people ask if Scout is me. Well, of course she is me to some extent. Every writer puts themselves in their characters…people they are, people they wish they were, people they hope to be. Scout is every young girl and grown woman who has lived through a brutal world, who cared and was used and thrown away like trash by people she trusted. She is every wounded soul who put herself out there for love, only to have her genuine kindness and good nature be nothing but someone else’s fodder. She is every broken woman who gave so much of herself, only to have it thrown into a fire by a liar, a selfish monster, a predatory animal who, rather than heal himself, placates his own demons by destroying another.
Scout’s Honor came out too early for the #MeToo movement. However, it is no less timely. What this book teaches us is that at some point, you realize every day is New Years Day. Every day, you wake up, you get to start over again. Somedays…and honestly, for me, most days…it doesn’t feel worth it at all.
You have to have something to live for, someone to love, something to hope for. I try to remember these three things each day. For 15 months now, since I lost the only man who ever loved me, two young women – my two young women – fully occupy all three categories.
I wait for the day when something or someone can be thrown into the categories because my girls will always be in all three. And each day, I wonder, who or where or what will be a worthy addition for me to wake up for? For me to get out of bed for? For me to try for?
The truth is, the stumbling through that waterfall is inevitable. No matter their place, no matter their experiences, no matter their stage, most people look out for themselves first. Always. Most people do what they think it best for themselves, and it doesn’t matter who they hurt in the process. The trick is to find the ones worth your categories.
And when you do, maybe then that New Years Day feeling of invincibility will reappear, another dawning of a stronger version will unveil.
But until then, or more realistically for me…unless then…I hibernate. Daily. Because every day is the first day of a New Year.