I pasted above an article from Discover Magazine, I think it might be interesting because it explains, in part, why I wrote, Fishing for Light and Bobby’s Socks. I had wondered how I might use this article. Well, today is the day, and I’ll explain at the end of this post what motivates me to keep writing, even though my audience is ‘tiny’ and at present I have ‘1’ fan on Goodreads.com, and yes, it’s my wife. Perhaps I should have patented a duck call? Maybe not, I have a really pathetic beard and it’s molting gray-ish.
First, being a dork, I want to share what I like to read about. I started reading about ‘epigenetics’ several years ago, after I noticed an article about the link between child abuse and suicide. I know, this is a ‘heavy’ subject. But if I were a parent, or I have a loved one in my life that has a traumatic background, I would want to read this article. This is knowledge that can save a life. But first, below, I quoted from the article, a good definition of the term, ‘epigenetics’.
“One such extra element is the methyl group, a common structural component of organic molecules. The methyl group works like a placeholder in a cookbook, attaching to the DNA within each cell to select only those recipes — er, genes — necessary for that particular cell’s proteins. Because methyl groups are attached to the genes, residing beside but separate from the double-helix DNA code, the field was dubbed epigenetics, from the prefix epi (Greek for over, outer, above).”
But then the article gets even more interesting. Add two really, really, really, brilliant scientists, Moshe Szyf and Michael Meaney from McGill University together at a bar in Madrid in 1992.
“Now, at the bar in Madrid, Szyf and Meaney considered a hypothesis as improbable as it was profound: If diet and chemicals can cause epigenetic changes, could certain experiences — child neglect, drug abuse or other severe stresses — also set off epigenetic changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain? That question turned out to be the basis of a new field, behavioral epigenetics, now so vibrant it has spawned dozens of studies and suggested profound new treatments to heal the brain.”
If you take a few minutes and read the article, I think it will ‘shed light’ into the ‘why’, as in ‘why’ from Fishing for Light, Eddie Wilcox is lost in life. And why, from Bobby’s Socks, Bobby thought about ‘taking his life’. Both characters experienced a significant life trauma that altered their genetic structure.
As to my motivations for writing, they are rather simple. I cannot get my childhood back. I cannot change the past. Almost every week I read about, or watch the local news about a beautiful young person that took their life. Typically, the family and friends do not understand the ‘why’. Today, I read from the NY POST, a story about such a person, I cried and I said a little prayer. But I do not allow myself to remain sad, I put on my colorful woven socks, and I decide to take action. That is why I dream of building a not-for-profit sock company, The Bobby’s Socks Company. The colorful threads, in a sense, are like the strands of our DNA, and each pair of socks would be slightly different, just like our own DNA differs from person to person. But the common link, putting on the warm socks allows us to seek happiness, and to smile.
I wonder, what if we had sporting events where the participants all had on, colorful, woven socks. I would imagine at the event, what if a child asked, “Dude, what’s up with the socks?” I think it is a perfect entry point for a teacher, coach, parent, friend or mental health professional to answer their question. To paraphrase, Occam’s razor – to me, the simple questions are the best questions.
I am motivated to prevent the 100% preventable, and to allow that unseen human flower to bloom, to smile at the sun and wonder. And to allow their spirit to flourish beyond the heavens. If I can be bold enough to add my voice, to the many voices, going forward, I can write entertaining novels that open windows for readers to gaze through at other souls that might reflect back their own life experiences to find peace and understanding.