Yesterday a student from Eastside Academy spoke in church. Eastside Academy is the alternative high school for at-risk youth housed at First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue which inspired Camden School in MOURNING BECOMES CASSANDRA. You need to know that, whenever one of these students stands up to speak to our congregation, they get the rock star treatment: standing ovations, tears, cheering. All that's missing is the mosh pit and some underwear thrown on the stage.
And it's all deserved! Whoever heard such great stories? Adversity like you wouldn't believe, and then, by the grace of God and with EA's help, the gradual, painful, effortful overcoming of adversity. Plenty of people twice and thrice their age haven't managed to get back on their feet and have in fact become quite comfy lying on the ground, completely rolled over by life.
Hearing such a testimony again just made me wish I'd gone into even greater depth with the whole Nadina business in MBC (although, dang it, the thing was already, as you know, the completely-unacceptable, hideously-unwieldy-first-novel length of 130,000 words).
If that aspect of the story interested you, do check out www.eastsideacademy.org for information on ways to volunteer at the school: mentoring as Cass did, volunteering in the classroom, donating to the Oct 24 auction, attending the auction, and so on. In our new church digs, EA now has capacity for 45 students, and they're already at 30-something, so they could use the extra help!