You’ve heard the story about the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean at low tide. A man chides him that the boy can’t save them all, and what difference does such a futile gesture make? “It makes a difference to this one,” the boy replies, tossing another starfish into the sea.
Light one candle. Scare away the dark. Use your voice every time they try to shut your mouth.
The power of one. Refusing to go gently into the dark night.
Defiance is one of the human race’s better attributes.
#HoldOnToTheLight is about throwing starfish and lighting candles. And giving a one-finger salute to the darkness.
As my friend John Hartness likes to say, there is ‘famous’ and then there’s ‘writer famous’. ‘Writer famous’ is when you walk into a con and people recognize you. ‘Famous’ is when you walk into a Starbucks anywhere in the world and people recognize you.
The 100+ authors who agreed to write for #HoldOnToTheLight run the fame gamut. But all of us have fans and readers, Facebook friends and Twitter followers, people who hold us and our books in some regard. And to those people, however many they might be, our opinion matters. Our stories matter.
We lost so many people in Southern fandom at the beginning of this year. I got tired to saying ‘good-bye’ and being invited to wakes. It made me mad, but I didn’t know what to do about it. Then in April I saw the #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign in Supernatural fandom and how the show’s stars used their fame and their connection to fans to do something really good.
And I wondered—what would happen if the authors whose books create the genre spoke out with their own stories about the impact of mental health issues on them, their characters and their books?
We might not have the reach or following TV stars have, but we have some following. And when people in the public eye speak out and own taboo issues, the stigma lessens. We could encourage fans and stand in solidarity with the ones who are struggling and let them know that they are not alone.
Most of the blog posts are up now, with a few more straggling in. Life gets in the way, even of good intentions. I’m gobsmacked by the honesty, the willingness to share without flinching, the vulnerability revealed in the posts. You can read them here on this site, as well as new ones when they post.
I know the campaign has registered millions of social media impressions and been picked up by news sites around the world and shared/retweeted thousands of times. I don’t know if you add up all of the social media followers of all of our authors if we total as much as the fans of one TV star, but that’s OK. They’re our tribe. Our stories matter to them.
It’s about using the voice you have to make a difference. We’ve had feedback from readers who say the campaign mattered to them. I hope that there are many others, and that maybe something they read helped them hang in there, keep fighting, hold on to the light. We’ll probably never know.
The truth is: we’re all we’ve got. You, me, him, her, them. If we don’t hang together, as the saying goes, we shall surely all hang separately. So let’s hold on to each other, and hold on to the light.
If you want to see the videos I had in my head while I wrote this, go watch ‘Sing’ by My Chemical Romance, ‘Scare Away the Dark’ by Parachute, and ‘Light One Candle’ by Peter Paul and Mary.