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Monday, November 3, 2014

I Want To Be Braver Than Katniss #MockingJay


It’s hard to deny that kick-ass Katniss Everdeen is brave. And we can all fantasize that if the fate of the world rested in our hands, we’d kick-ass too. But I want to be brave in the real world. Braver than even Katniss Everdeen. 

In her everyday life, Katniss wasn't all that brave. She didn't have the courage to talk to the boy that gave her the bread. She might have snuck out to go hunting with Gale, but never had the courage to explore any feelings she had for him beyond friendship. She wasn't brave enough to confront her mother about the things that were bothering her. She wasn't brave enough to step out of her comfort zone and make friends at school. Until her sister’s name was called at the reaping, she did not show much bravery. And after that, much of what she did was just a reaction to what was happening to her. 

In my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) prep, I did some exercises from the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass. One of the exercises is to think of a real life hero and the qualities of him/her that you admire. Since my protagonist is a teenager, I tried to think of a teenager I admire. I came up with a young lady from Pitman New Jersey named Katelyn Darrow. When Katelyn was just 12 years old she started a program called Angels of God Clothing Closet to helps families in crisis (such as after a house fire) get some essentials to help keep them going. Katelyn saw a need in the community and was brave enough to fill it. Five years later, Katelyn’s Angels of God Clothing Closet continues to live up to their mission of helping disadvantaged people and relieve financial stress by providing clothing, toiletries, food and more to those in need at no cost to them through their store-front location and also through school supply drives, holiday gift giving, costume donations, etc. Katelyn also works in the community and beyond speaking to groups, scouts, schools. She has won awards and was even on the Steve Harvey show last month.

I met Katelyn last year during her monthly Kids on a Quest meeting in which she shows kids how they can help in their community. Not only is she brave enough to do extraordinary things but she is also 100 % relatable – she is sweet and down to earth. She talked to the kids about normal stuff too – swim team, friends, the homecoming dance. That is the kind of hero I admire. Someone who is ordinary and relatable while having the bravery to do extraordinary things in everyday life.

I wish I had that courage when I was her age. I wish I had that courage now. That is the kind of bravery I want my protagonist to have (in addition to some kick-ass Katniss bravery).

Learn more about Angels of God Clothing Closet including ways you can help at: http://www.angelsofgod.org/help/donate.html

And, in case you've missed the trailer demonstrating some of Katniss’s kick-ass bravery in the upcoming MockingJay movie, check it out at:
Are you braver than Katniss Everdeen? Do you know someone that is?

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