three cries and a thrill: a poem

dark
shadows spatter across the gray horizon
like hard coal
thrown
against the brown withered winterscape
all the ground groaning for life
but
the nevermore of blackbirds
taunt
until
wait
the red stain on the wing
there
stripes of crimson
fighting against the fickle
season
change
feathered bones pushing heavenward
as if blood surely does redeem
golden light an accent
an afterthought
hope

*****

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Say, can my teenage daughter read your book?

My novel has officially been released for a week now, and one of the most fascinating and enjoyable parts is hearing all the different reactions to the story. Aspects of the story emerge which I’d never considered while writing it, such as quotes and character quirks and even whole themes. One of those I’m most thrilled about has been arriving in my inbox as a question:

“Is this something my teenage daughter could read?”

After all, two of the main characters are teens: Anniston is 13, quirky and precocious, though somewhat of a loner because of the lies and turmoil brewing in her family. Her best friend, Jed, is a teenage boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but with a heart of gold.

While I defer to the parents to ultimately make that decision, my personal answer is unequivocally

YES.

A small part of me might have been hesitant about this, initially. After all, the book, set in 1980, is a modern-day allegory of the rape and subsequent murders which occurred between King David’s children, in II Samuel 13. Though not graphically or gratuitously depicted in any way within my novel, it is obvious that these things do occur within the story.

However, 

…consider that Scholastic targets 11-13 year olds for the Hunger Games series.

…consider the frightening statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice about the horrors teens are experiencing in their daily lives.

…consider even more statistics, of which teens are largely impacted, from RAINN, one of the most highly respected organizations focusing on the prevention of seal assault and abuse.

…consider the number of teens in our schools and churches you probably already know who are dealing with things like cutting, domestic violence, sexual abuse.

Now, think about where these teens can find hope.

How Sweet the Sound is a novel written to give readers hope.

Hope that God is in the midst of pain.

Hope that the wounded can recover.

Hope that someone will believe in us when we can’t believe in ourselves.

Hope that beauty comes from within, no matter how scarred and ruined we may feel.

And hope that love wins.

So yeah, I’d say your teenage daughter can read this book.

I dare say, considering all the other forms of media vying for her attention, that she should.

*****

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…” I Timothy 4:12

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*****

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…” I Timothy 4:12

*****