Last week’s tragedies hit uncomfortably close to home. In 1994, I moved to Boston for school. For many years I lived in Brookline and Brighton, and watched the Boston Marathon run right down my streets. In 2004, my husband and I moved to a town bordering Watertown, where the grisly final showdown of last week’s crime spree played out. The manhunt for one of the bombing suspects took place within 1.5 miles of my neighborhood near all the places we go on weekly errands. The suspect was apprehended in the backyard of a house mere steps from a play area where I’ve been taking my son for years. (I blogged about our long day in a lockdown zone at Sleuths Spies and Alibis earlier this week).
I think so many of us feel these events hit close to home even if we don’t happen to live in the lockdown zone. We all know runners, and maybe some of us run. We know policemen. We know sports fans. We know eight-year-old boys. And so forth. If you talk to enough people, you are bound to find some kind of personal or emotional connection to the horrors that unfolded in the news.
Always, though, I come back to these fundamental facts: I am not that close to the events. I was not a victim. None of my friends or family were either. Any complaining I might do about personal inconveniences and fears I experienced last week do not come close to the losses experienced by those at the finish line — people who lost lives, limbs, or loved ones.
In the face of past national or international tragedies, I have found it helpful to channel my emotions into taking action. Donating money or time to a cause. I am therefore participating in a kidlit community auction to benefit Boston Marathon victims and their families: The Write Stuff For Boston. YA writer and blogger K.T. Crowley (also a fellow Bostonian) has organized this auction and is hosting it on her blog. Ten new items will be unveiled every day, starting today. Authors, bloggers, editors, and agents have donated books, manuscript critiques, school visits, and other items and services. Money raised from bidding goes directly to The One Fund Boston or to The Boston First Responders Fund. Items will be open for bidding for five days after they are listed.
My donation is a manuscript critique of a MG or YA book (up to 30 pages) OR a YA short story, plus a copy of Tokyo Heist.
Another wonderful initiative is spearheaded by YA author (and Boston-area resident) A.C. Gaughen and YA author Kimberly Sabatini. They are collecting books (from authors, readers, anyone) for an initiative called Books for Boston. New children’s books — with uplifting inscriptions or messages of hope — will be collected and donated to the Boston Public Library and to the Neighborhood House Charter School, which is where 8-year-old bombing victim Martin Richards attended. You can read more about Books for Boston, including the philosophy behind it and how to help, on A.C. Gaughen’s blog.
I hope you’ll consider participating in one of these efforts, donating to The One Fund, or helping to spread the word.