Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Including Everyone - Meyer

I’ve been thinking recently about how we are all so different and yet really very much the same in many ways.
I think it’s all too easy for us as human beings to want to be around people who are the same as us. I’m not really referring to cliques and racial prejudice. I think I’m talking more about just sticking with what is comfortable, versus stepping out and enlarging our circle of friends and acquaintances.
I’m a naturally shy person, as many writers are, and it’s always a bit difficult for me to meet new people. It is easier if I know ahead of time that I have things in common with them. For example, it’s not as hard to think about meeting new people at Write!Canada because I know that I will have a lot in common with the other “writers who are Christian” gathered there. When I attend a secular writer’s conference, then I might be a bit less comfortable because our commonality is narrowed down to just “writers.”
Again, there would be a certain variance in comfort levels if I were to visit a day program for developmentally challenged adults… or if I were to go to a hospice… or a half-way house for former inmates...
But all of us have found, at one time or another, that our lives have been enriched by our encounters with people who are different from us in some way, people who are going through things that we can’t imagine ever happening to us.
Recently, I was able to offer support to my brother, who is developmentally challenged, as he prepared for his wedding to another developmentally challenged adult. It was an awesome privilege and a real blessing to me to see their joy and their love for each other.
In the books that I write, I try to include a diversity of people. I have characters such as Bobby, who has Down’s syndrome and Missy, who was blind from birth. I have rich tourist camp owners, and homeless people who are chronic alcoholics. I believe that when we include a variety of people in our books, then we are enriching the lives of our readers in the same way that our lives are enriched when we get out and meet people who are different from us in a variety of ways.

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