I have been getting very involved with the multiple sclerosis community for a couple of reasons. 1). It helps me connect with, and draw support from, people who are going through what I am going through, and 2). the publisher felt it was a good idea to target that community for my novel, "Once in Every Generation."
I would like to share with you a review that appeared on Amazon, which became a reminder for me that there are two very important characters in this novel, each facing their own challenges. The review:
A must read! by PJ Fox
I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story of two lives enriched by each other. This story should be read by everyone who would like to understand how their fears may have interfered with reaching their goals and fulfilling their dreams; fear of ridicule, failure, and embarrassment. Angelina gave up her hopes and dreams at the age of 11 when she allowed an experience to let her fears be her guide and master throughout most of her life, until she began to see herself in her most talented student. That was when Angelina, the teacher, also became the student. The most important lesson to be learned is that the main character would have never been able to help herself or anyone else had she turned her terrifying moment into life long anger and bitterness. It was only through her generously opening her heart and soul and giving of herself that she was able to be receptive to the fulfillment of her own dreams. (I underlined the part that started my contemplation.)
One of the reasons I had written, "Once in Every Generation" was to educate the public about MS. A clinical book or an article on the subject attracts readers who are affected by MS, but the a patient with a different disease (or no disease) will likely not read such articles. However, a fictional story can attract all types of readers. Since the information regarding MS is factual, I am thereby educating all people about MS - people who would otherwise not, necessarily, be aware of the disease.
I will forever be grateful to the now-defunct television show, The West Wing. When it became public that the President of the United States, played by Martin Sheen, had multiple sclerosis, an entire nation of tv watchers received an education about MS. Consequently, more funding for research appeared. Anytime a celebrity admits to having a disease, national attention is paid to it. I am grateful to Montel Williams, Clay Walker, Annette Funicello, Teri Garr and David Lander for drawing attention to MS. I even thanked them in the acknowledgments of my novel.
In the above review, PJ Fox focused on the other main character and received a lesson through that character's generosity.
It has been very time-consuming networking in the MS social circles. I have made many new friends, and learned a lot. But, the novel is not only about MS and I must remind myself to start focusing on other matters.
All the stories I have written have been in the mainstream literary genre. Most novels I read follow that suit. I enjoy reading and writing about people, their interactions and how each person's life impacts on another's.
PJ Fox was right. This novel is also about Angelina Mariano; what she had to overcome and how, through putting Lisa's life's challenge in front of her own, she was able to give selflessly. A lesson we could all learn!