Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Carolyn Wada and For Cory's Sake
Today's special guest is Carolyn Wada, author of For Cory's Sake.
The planet of Cory has been enslaved by Fear, by the threat of an end to their world. Roci's outward life typifies the plight of the Coryan people: he has no family; he has been forced into slavery; people are attempting to control him with both the threat and reality of physical violence. Roci is distinct, though, in that he has decided to live in a place he can control—in vivid imaginary lives and worlds which he has created within the untouchable space of his mind. He believes in families though he has never had one, and he believes in compassionate people willing to make sacrifices to save those who cannot save themselves.
William Bentler is a kind and quietly courageous father of seven. He cares deeply about the plight of the Coryan people, and has spent his adult lifetime trying to raise awareness of their plight among the civilian occupiers. He does this by publishing articles, essays and stories about the heart-wrenching realities of indigenous Coryan life. He also strove to teach compassion and sacrifice to his children throughout their lives.
When the oppressors appoint a new leader, the sacrificial toll on William's life rises to a new and very exacting level. Published dissent is now punished with physical, escalating penalties paralleling those given to the slaves. But William continues to write and publish, and then watches in distress (though with a little pride) as two of his children choose his lifestyle as well.
William's compassion and quiet courage eventually attract a valuable and unexpected ally. The family and their valuable friend struggle onwards—making choices and sacrifices, taking risks, accepting almost unbearable consequences. In the end, they learn how to gain freedom by conquering Fear . . . for Cory's Sake.
I've asked Carolyn to address the connection between her book and her concern for those children suffering from child abuse. Here's what she has to say:
I've been asked to write about how my concern for the problem of child abuse worked itself into the plot of For Cory's Sake. I've decided to hit on a few main themes from the development and background parts of For Cory's Sake (i.e. to avoid spoilers), and use illustrative examples from both my fantasy and the real world.
Theme #1—THE USE OF FEAR AS A MEANS OF CONTROL:
“I am sure,” said William, “that you are familiar with the force that is enslaving Cory?”
Kerry nodded and said, “The Bomb. The Ultimate Threat. The Bomb is Fear—Absolute Fear.”
The planet of Cory has been enslaved by a threat, by the threat of a Bomb that could quite literally end their world.
Now, a possible from the real world: “If you tell [about the abuse] 'they' will take you away, and you will never see your mommy again.” Said to a young child, this is a threat of an end to the world!
Theme #2—THE USE OF VIOLENCE AS A MEANS OF CONTROL:
“every infraction must be resolved with a punishment . . . combat every character flaw with escalating punishment until it's fixed. I think Captain Prackerd actually believes the planet will stop spinning if he allows people to speak against the government without retribution.”
In For Cory's Sake, the assumption of power by one violent man (Captain Prackerd) has a profound effect on the lives of those under him.
From the real world: Have you ever run into someone who believes it is his God-given duty to control his children with beatings? I have. Such a belief, in a person in power, has hard, far-reaching consequences for the little lives under him.
Theme #3—THE NEED FOR A “VOICE”:
[Cory's] voice is stopped by a heavy threat, which presses constantly down upon its mouth like a suffocating blanket. . . . We are Cory's mouthpiece, we are its transplanted voice.
These words were written by Weston Bentler, in his first published work as a “lightning rod.” The lightning rods are a very important group in For Cory's Sake. Most of the non-natives on Cory simply ignore the plight of the enslaved Coryans. The lightning rods are the only group speaking for the Coryans, who are in such a position that they CANNOT speak for themselves.
In the real world, many children are in need of adults to be their champions, to help them find or to be their voice. Children are at a disadvantage in experience, knowledge, options, access—really everything except innocence. Which brings us to . . .
Theme #4—THE INFORMATION GAP:
An information gap, the struggle to bridge it, and the consequences of both the gap and the bridging, make up the big, plot-driving theme of For Cory's Sake. I cannot give you the size of the information gap without giving away the climactic major plot twist of the story—but it is huge, and it is important. It is responsible for years of struggle and years of regret, and freedom comes only when it is bridged.
Abused children often suffer from an information gap. It appalls me how many years can be lost when a child does not know certain things. My body is my own. I can tell someone. I have rights, I have options, and I know what they are. Children need to know these things, and much heartbreak would be averted if all did.
I personally would like to better support the real-world people who work as champions for oppressed children: freeing them from violence and fear, giving them a voice, and helping them move from the chains of darkness into hopeful light. ALL author's royalties, from sales of For Cory's Sake, are and will be donated to organizations that provide services to abused, neglected or exploited children. This commitment was published with the book; it is printed on the back cover of For Cory's Sake.
The National Child Abuse Hotline, for the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, is 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
Carolyn Wada is the oldest of seven children raised by two wonderful, supportive parents. She has a deep interest in children's issues. In particular, she is interested in supporting organizations that help child survivors of abuse.
More information about this aspect can be found via www.outskirtspress.com/ForCorysSake.