After a very, very long hiatus, last week was supposed to be my (triumphant) return to blogging. Instead, I decided to curl up around a bottle of Bailey’s* and weep.
It was partly my own fault. My recreational reading for the week was a John Connolly thriller. Connolly is poetry at the line level and scary as hell at the story level, and definitely not recommended for young readers or the faint of heart. Normally I love his books, but last week I was also reading a true crime book about behavioural profiling of serial rapists as research for the novel I’m working on. It was graphic and haunting and awful, and absolutely the worst thing to read while the dumpster fire of the Kavanaugh hearings took place. I’d pop onto Facebook hoping for a mental palette cleanser and find a non-stop stream of incandescent rage and existential despair–the very emotions I was trying to escape.
You know that psychic bubble wrap we wind around our brains, the stuff that helps us believe that there is hope, that people are basically good, that evils, both deliberate and accidental, both inventive and banal, don’t actually exist? By the end of the week, every single one of my bubbles had popped. I can only imagine how much worse it must have been for Christine Blasey Ford and the millions of women who’ve shared her experiences.
This is why I am so, so grateful that Veronica Mars is coming back.
If you’re not familiar with the show, Veronica Mars is a smart-aleck high school girl who moonlights as a private eye, solving small cases for her classmates, and big cases when the authorities–and the privileged elite–turn their backs. She is also a survivor of sexual assault, and the show handles the realities and the complexities of that fact with more sensitivity and compassion than almost any piece of media I’ve ever encountered.
One of the most important functions of fiction is to give us a safe space to grapple with big questions.** When real life is too scary, too traumatizing, to look at head on, fiction is provides an emotional buffer, the comfort of knowing that while the story reflects reality, it isn’t real. Psychic bubble wrap comes standard.
The heroines of the #metoo movement are fighting the good fight in a difficult and devastating war. And when they experience setbacks, when their real-life battles are lost, Veronica will be there for us. When she wins, she’ll give us hope that we can, too.
Hugs for everyone who is struggling in this moment.
* I’m allergic to dairy. When the emotional distress is worse than the physical distress, you know it’s bad.
* * This is particularly true of children’s literature, but I think it’s valid for grown ups, too.