An earlier post from this blog will be included in an anthology of essays about bullying, all by authors of books for children and teens, entitled DEAR BULLY. It is an impressive and varied lineup. I will post more information when info on ordering the book becomes available.
My own life, I’ve learned, is an anthology. I have one story in it, a few pages long, and share it with a lot of other compelling and worthy stories: my wife’s, my son’s, and my many colleagues and friends, my neighbors and even my readers. But the curious thing is that I’ve written the entire thing. My life has one brief story about myself shuffled up with a bunch of stories I’ve told (or am telling) about other people. Call them collaborators, if you want, but what I’ve dwelled on recently is that while self-help and inspirational literature is filled with wisdom about self-affirmations, creative visualization about yourself, writing manifestos and planning your future, I have grown and achieved the most when I made other people the heroes in my life, telling myself stories about them. People who have mentored me, or ushered me along my own career path, or simply inspired me with their hard work and compassion. That didn’t come natural to me, and I still resist it sometimes, but now I’m struck by the brilliance of that opening line in David Copperfield where he understands that he may not be the principle character in his own biography.
The slogan for the campaign about bullying is that “it gets better,” but it doesn’t get better by magic. It gets better because you develop your talents, marshall your resources, surround yourself with those people who love and appreciate you (whomever they are) and tell yourself damned good stories about them.