Tuesday, 31 January 2012
What Would You Risk Everything For?
Today, the #darkdaysofjanuary blog tour stops here at the Hearthfire. This tour is to celebrate the publication of Sara Grant's gripping dystopian debut Dark Parties, published by Indigo at the start of this month. In this final stop on her tour, Sara discusses risk and commitment - a topic she explores fully in the novel. For more information about Dark Parties: my review and its Goodreads page.
Dark Parties explores how far someone will go to stand up for what she believes in. My main character Neva risks everything to rebel against an overbearing government and save those she loves. If I was faced with Neva’s dilemma, would I do the same? It’s a question I asked myself over and over while writing Dark Parties. It’s probably at the heart of why I wanted to write this story.
I would like to think I would be a rebel and stand up and speak out for what I believe in – no matter what the cost. But that’s an easy thing for me to say from my comfy flat in London. That’s a much different decision when there’s a gun or Protectosphere standing in your way – or worse yet when your actions would hurt a loved one. I want to believe that I would have walked along side Martin Luther King, for example. I want to believe that I’d step in when I see injustice. As Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to nothing.”
But for most of us, improving the world doesn’t often come down to life or death decisions, nor is it focused on one moment in time. It’s constant baby steps. It’s making small decisions on a daily basis.
More than twenty years ago, I attended a Franklin-Covey seminar on time management. I’m a compulsive list maker and planner. I have an electronic to-do list but also often have adjunct Post-it note lists tacked all over. This seminar talked about planning each day based on what you want to accomplish long-term. The presenter asked us to imagine a two-by-four plank placed between the Twin Towers. He asked us what was important enough to make us cross that narrow beam. What would we risk everything for?
The list of worthy causes seems endless: protecting human rights, ending poverty, curing cancer...all the way and including, well, world peace. But if I’m honest, there’s only thing for which I’m 100 percent certain that I’d risk life and limb – those I love. I’d cross a wire strung between the Twin Towers in a raging wind storm for my family and close friends.
The presenter in the Franklin-Covey seminar asked us to generate a list of our top long-term goals. He asked us to break those goals down to what we could accomplish in one year and then identify what we could do each month, week, day and then spend the next hour and minute in activities that are directed toward those goals. It’s a lesson I think about often and still endeavour to plan my time using this principle.
I’m not doing enough to improve the world or even my little corner of it, but I keep trying. I hope that Dark Parties encourages action and rebellion and inspires the belief that one person can make a difference. I love the quote from Anne Frank: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Wow, thank you Sara - so much to think about there. Again, I would recommend having a look at Dark Parties if you haven't already. It certainly does raise questions about conformity and rebellion, as a good dystopian novel should.