Here in the U.S., it’s the start of the end of summer Labor Day weekend. My partner and I are headed to the adorable town of Ocean Grove, NJ which has the odd distinction of being both a Christian camp meeting down (hey, businesses are allowed to open on Sunday now, but you can’t go on the beach before noon) and also really, really gay.
Growing up, my grandmother lived in Bradley Beach, and my childhood summers were spent in the towns — Bradley Beach, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove — along this stretch of the Jersey shore. They’re scenic and complicated places that have seen a revival in recent years. In my childhood, Asbury was a dying amusement park town and in some ways it still is, although the bumper cars and the carousel are gone now.
The point of me telling you about these places isn’t just that I’m trying to get off-line and get my head together before Starling‘s release (I am, but that’s not gonna happen, because we have a lot of other deadlines and tones of blog tour and related stuff to write). The point is that these towns are complex and filled with contradictions. What they want you to believe about them and what they are from the eyes of one person to the next all vary. They are liars and they just want to be loved.
They are, like you and me, just trying to do their thing. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it hard, sometimes it makes no sense, sometimes it works, and sometimes no one gets it. But they keep going, because that’s what collections of people do. It’s a lot harder when you’re on your own.
Which is why you should get down in these comments and brag. Because we may not all be working towards the same goals. We may have totally contradictory views of ourselves and the world. But if we do it even semi-collectively, it’s a lot easier to keep going, to recover your energy while you ride the wave from others, and to offer support when you’ve got some spare strength to give.
So what do you get done? Inspire us (and seriously, if you made your bed like twice all month, that’s inspiring — we’re not a bed-making household). Hence, assume your contribution is inspiring to someone. It almost certainly is.