I am lucky to count author Sieni not only as a friend, but also as one of those with whom I have had many a fantastic chat on the role writing fiction can have on personal and community development, which resulted in many an undone chore.
What can I say – sacrifices must be made.
I had the opportunity to beta read and review her latest book, Scar of the Bamboo Leaf, which took my breath away. There were so many concepts that tugged at my mind and at my heart, but one stood out: that of the confidence Sieni has in the capacity of young adults, even those with behavioural issues like her character Ryler to be noble beings contributing decisively to the well-being of their communities. I asked her to share some thoughts on the matter, and this is what she had to say.
How My Perception of Youth Adults as Noble Beings Inspires my Writing, by Sieni A.M.
I’ve always been drawn to stories where the main character sets out on a journey – whether it be a physically demanding one to the Mountain of Doom, or one of quiet self-discovery; stories in which there’s great difficulty, tribulations, and the main heroine/hero goes through hell to conquer their demons in either a literal or metaphorical sense. That conquering, and the steps taken towards it, that strife and the hope that comes out of it, the qualities that result – sacrifice, pain, revelation, all of it – is what draws me in and inspires my writing. In Scar of the Bamboo Leaf, I wrote about an artist girl with a limp and an outcast boy she befriends. They have scars, both physical and emotional, and they help each other challenge the reasons they acquired them in the first place.
I feel it’s important to have stories that touch on the subjects of adversity, disability, and acceptance, where the characters are not perfect but who are not without human nobility, that despite their youth and the hardships they undergo, they are still hopeful and strive to become more in a purposeful, meaningful way. Scar of the Bamboo Leaf is a coming of age tale that spans about a decade in the life of these characters. It’s as much a coming of age tale as it is a coming-to-life story of two characters that quietly, but powerfully find their place in society.
First posted on Sahar’s Blog on 7 October 2014.