October “Toby” Daye was in many ways my first “real” protagonist. She was complicated, she was sad, she was bruised and refusing to break, and she was not afraid to put her duty ahead of her desire to be liked. She bullied her way through the world she was created to inhabit, looking at every complication that stood in her way and saying “No, you move.” After a lifetime spent moving dolls through stories, it was like I finally had a real person to follow and document. I started writing her adventures, and sending them out to people I trusted to read and review. Midway through either the second or the third book—I don’t remember anymore—I got a note from one of my proofers saying “You can’t have Toby do this, she’s always been a little bitchy, but this makes her a total bitch. No one will like her if she does this.”
I panicked. I couldn’t write a series about an unlikeable character! I’d never get published, no one else would ever meet my imaginary friends, and everything I’d worked for my whole life would be over, all because Toby was unlikeable.
Then I took a deep breath, and wrote back to the proofer requesting that they do a find/replace on the .doc, and plug in the name “Harry Dresden” for every instance of “October Daye.” They did, and lo and behold, what had been “bitchy” and “inappropriate” was suddenly “bold” and “assertive.” A male character in the same situation, with the same background, taking the same actions, was completely in the right, justified, and draped with glory. He was a hero. Toby? Toby was an unlikeable bitch.
The proofer withdrew the compliant. I have never forgotten it.
My home is being destroyed in order to power this country! Entire mountain ranges are being leveled, at the hands of mountaintop removal. It breaks my heart to see everything I love being ripped away… forever. I’ve been studying the forests of Appalachia for over 5 years now… I know them in a way that many don’t. I know the dark coves lined with Hemlocks reaching higher than the cliffs, I know the waterfalls hidden away in valleys that have never been seen, I know the wilderness, the places untouched by man. These places are my “home”, my peace, my joy, what keeps me sane. This is why I can’t give up. I will never stop trying to save my home. This place is a treasure of unique and rare plants and animals. Life is everywhere you look. Everything I love is at stake. I see a mountaintop removal site, and it hurts my guts… it rips my heart out. I see my people suffer, from poverty, dirty water, contaminated air… I have to be their voice.
I have to stand up, and educate a world that doesn’t understand what we are doing to our planet, and to our people. It’s time to change our destructive ways, and live in peace with nature. We have FREE clean, renewable energy all around us! We can power the world in ways that don’t kill the planet. Big industries don’t want us to tap into these resources, because they wouldn’t be making money from it. It’s time for us, as a WHOLE to stand up and demand CLEAN ENERGY!!!
Show your support, and your dedication to the planet. Inspire others to learn about clean energy! It’s time for change!!! (:
Clean Energy Buttons!! (: