Friday, February 21, 2014

When Fiction Meets Reality

The high school is old. It smells of those old trade schools that put students into jobs. Why shouldn't it? The school was built in 1901 on the edge of Chicago. A monster taking up a full city block with all those immigrant voices still echoing in the halls. And you go in there into the other world that is very far from the white suburban life. There are real lives here that are really just hanging on and you have come to sign their books.

And the school  bought them with Federal Funds. They would not have the books otherwise. The librarian tells you before you speak that they come from unspeakable problems. They deal with things that you have no idea of. Some of the kids are homeless. And your book is about that. A Mexican American kid with nothing. A sick mom. An abusive dad. A one in a million dream and a broken down pitcher who cant stop drinking. And it is fiction and you created it in your very safe world but now you cant turn off your laptop.

Because here it is. They don't have anything. They do have abusive fathers. They are raised by single mothers. They do have one in a million dreams. So you give your speech and you sign their books and you tell them to never give up on their dreams. And you hope you made a difference. You hope your book  helped them along. 

But you know when you get in your car that you are leaving and they have to stay. And you go back to your white suburb. Its only fiction after all.
The Piticher...sometimes a dream is all you have

Books by William Hazelgrove