New Year, New Voices: The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass

New Year, New Voices: The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass

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Hello Canada,

 

I wanted to be a fairy warrior princess when I grew up. My friends and I spent our recesses writing stories and acting out adventures: rescuing princes from evil wizards, practicing archery on horseback, attending balls to spy on a villainous lord.

I used to play dress up in long velvet gowns. I still do that, sometimes, but to be honest I think I look better in my black button-up shirt and floral-print bowtie. Gender is like that for me—dress up. It can be a lot of fun.

Growing up meant getting serious, and I thought it meant leaving magic behind. It also meant learning more about the problems of the society we live in, like sexism, gendered violence, and homophobia (which I’ve personally experienced), and racism and colonialism (which, as a white settler, I haven’t personally experienced). I’ve always cared about feminism and social justice, and I started attending marches and protests.

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years, always looping up and down, relying on the people who love me to stick around when I’m having a bad day (I’ll always have bad days, and that’s okay). In grad school, I started studying the relationship between oppression and mental illness. I learned more about the continuing harms of colonialism and capitalism. I wanted—I still want—to change things.

But I missed magic. I missed adventure, romance, and masquerade balls. And more than anything, on hard days, I really missed the promise of a happy ending.

I started writing what would become The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass at a cafe in downtown Hamilton called Redchurch. I wanted to write something fantastical, and what came out was the opening scene of the book. I didn’t think, then, that it would become a book. I’d written poetry and short stories before, but a novel seemed impossible.

But I loved the main character I had created, who was angry, tired, and sad. I wanted Eli to use her anger to change the world. She was also lonely, and I wanted her to make friends. I wanted to give her a happy ending, despite the pain, so that I could believe that there is one out there for all of us, too.

I wanted to write a queer love story for her, and for me, and for all the awesome young queer people I’ve met. I really wanted to write a badass nonbinary character, and I came out as nonbinary a few months after starting the book.

I wanted to write a story about hope for people like me who sometimes feel hopeless.

Over the course of writing this book I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve been hurt, emotionally and physically. I’ve been supported by incredible people and cats. I’ve let myself fall in love again. I’m going into 2020 feeling hopeful.

I’m a Pisces. I’m a fan of Tegan and Sara. I own three animal onesies.

And I’m pretty sure I’m getting close to becoming a fairy warrior prince.

 

 

Adan Jerreat-Poole