Resiliency and Gratitude (and a Giveaway!)

A long and feelsy post coming...plus a giveaway. So you know. Keep reading ;)Last week, Second Position celebrated its one month birthday. If you haven't bought it, keep your tutu on! You can click here for all of the convenient buy links in a new window. Isn't that handy?In the month + one week that's elapsed since Second Position and Turning Pointe released, I've received emails from readers with eating disorders. Readers with addictions. Readers who are recovering alcoholics. Readers with amputations. Readers with prosthetic limbs. Readers who suffer from anxiety. Readers with depression. Readers whose partners or loved ones have EDs/addictions/alcoholism/amputations/prosthetic limbs/anxiety/depression.When I wrote Second Position, I wrote it out of my own heartbreak. I released it in heartbreak too. I wrote it so I could know that people who weren't able-bodied and neurotypical could also have Happily Ever Afters. And I was grateful and thrilled when Carina wanted to publish it. And I was stoked when my agent wanted to sign me and represent me.But I never really understood what it'd be like to reach readers like this. To make someone feel less alone and more seen in the world. And it's both a gift and an honor to be someone who lessens the all too frequent cruelty of the world for one person, or a couple of people, even if it's only for a few hours while Second Position is open and unfinished on an e-reader.I hope that feeling never gets old. And if an author helps you like this, if their book matters, tell them. It helps us get through the shitty days in this business to know that it matters. That our work matters.And outside of the incredible reception my little book's received, it's been a rollercoaster of a spring.In the last six weeks, my relationship ended, my first two books released, people have loved it, my bag with my computer/wallet/passport/keys was stolen, my computer was replaced with the generosity of friends and the writing community, my mom and I both had health crises, my great-uncle passed away, and I've cried as much from joy as I have from sadness.I've raged and laughed and loved and wallowed.I'm editing Finding Center right now, on a new computer purchased this morning with the ten dollar bills of people I might never have the pleasure of meeting in person. And I found this line hiding in one of Zed's early chapters. "Resiliency is something I discovered, not something I was born with."Resiliency is something I've learned in my twenties, and the learning process wasn't pretty. But resiliency isn't something you do alone. It's something that you learn with other people. Your friends and your family--however you define family--are your rubber bands, helping you snap back to form until you know how to do it on your own. And none of us can do it every single time alone. You get tired. I could handle one of bad things. But the second one made it harder to bounce back. The third, the fourth, those wore me down. But I'm surrounded by incredible people and a community who is greater than the sum of its parts (and it has some really, really beautiful parts).Laurie Halse Anderson says a librarian once called her books 'resiliency literature'. I hope that's what I write too. I hope I write books that build resiliency and step in to be readers' rubber bands when they don't have the support system I have now. I hope that I write even better books on this computer bought with kindness and generosity. I hope I'm worthy of the people around me.To celebrate Second Position's first month birthday, I'm giving away 10 copies of Second Position. To enter, comment on this post and tell me about a time when your friends and/or family (any definition) helped you through a tough time. If you would rather your comment stay private, please mention that in your comment and I'll enter you but not approve it so it doesn't show up publicly! Giveaway ends Sunday, May 17th at 6pm EST.