Yoojin Grace Wuertz Recommends...

“Because so much of the writing life takes place in the mind, where risk taking requires acts of mental and emotional bravery, I am inspired by people whose work requires physical courage and endurance. This includes professional athletes, ballet dancers, and the increasingly long list of friends and family members who train for marathons and triathlons. But topping this list of superheroes are first responders and emergency workers who live and ‘wage peace’—as one organization, Preemptive Love Coalition puts it—in war zones and refugee situations. As writers, we work to create and heighten conflict on the page in order to draw in readers. By doing so, we hope to earn empathy for our characters and the privilege of occupying a stranger’s attention. I am not performing heart surgeries on children who have been injured by chemical warfare—for that I can only send solidarity in the form of money and time. But I am trying to write the truest words I can find to tell my most urgent stories. As storytellers we understand the power of narrative to transform a life, to shine beauty in dark places. When this feels daunting, I look to the people who are fighting on the front lines for life, for compassion, for beauty. They give me courage.”
—Yoojin Grace Wuertz, author of Everything Belongs to Us (Random House, 2017)