I was thrilled to see Laurie Halse Anderson last week at the Children’s Auction. She looked marvelous in her flowing gown and was delightful as always. The week of BEA was a book-filled blur that had most of us miss the blow-by-blow devastation that occurred in Joplin, Missouri because of an enormous tornado.
When I returned home I saw something from Laurie on my Facebook feed. She had started a contest to help the folks of Joplin. Her contest was simple: donate to the Red Cross via the Ozark chapter website and for every ten dollars you donate, your name would get thrown in a hat for a chance to have Laurie critique a manuscript of yours, up to 400 pages. Okay, so how cool is that? I don’t even have a manuscript for Laurie to look at and I gave money just because it’s such a wonderful idea. And it’s selfless.
So far, with the contest six hours from finishing, it looks like she’s helped raised over $4,000. I can’t believe it. One person’s great idea, a massive Facebook following (Laurie has almost 5,000 friends) and people who perhaps needed a nudge to give have created tremendous results.
This reminds me in some way of what Carrie Jones and Megan Kelley Hall did last year when they responded to a teen’s suicide, not by lamenting, but by starting a group: Young Adult Authors Against Bullying. I blogged about it last year. And now, just months later, the book, Dear Bully, an anthology with contributions from more than 70 authors, is coming out in August.
Writers are in unique positions to create change. And I’m thrilled that writers such as Laurie Halse Anderson, Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones are giving of themselves to make the world a better place for folks who’ve suffered unbelievable tragedies or daily torments we’ll never know about. I am glad I made a donation to the folks of Joplin and I can’t wait to sell Dear Bully when it comes out. I am not a writer, but I can support writers who are making decisions to reach outside themselves and do what they can to make the world a little easier for folks they haven’t even met.