Charlie was a name that was whispered in my ear eight years ago. I compare that whisper like the one Kevin Costner hears in the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams. I don’t know why that name popped in my head, but it did for reasons I wouldn’t understand until later when I decide Charlie needed her story told.
At first I didn’t know who or what Charlie was, or what gender. But then my imagination took off about this person based on their name they gave to me. I did know Charlie would be a teenager who had gone through an unspeakable trauma, but in the end Charlie would overcome the aftermath of that trauma and find hope and peace. I then decided Charlie would be a courageous young woman who is healed by the power of love, which I would show in many forms in what would become Rage to Live. The rage of violence, of the horrible rape Charlie endures almost destroys her, but her survival, the rage that builds inside her, pushes Charlie to live. The word “rage” is a powerful word with many meanings. Some may think of “rage” as anger and hate, but it also can mean strength and an incredible will to endure.
When I mention Charlie heals because of love, I wanted to show love in many forms. The central plot of Rage to Live is Charlie finding a romantic love with Arielle, a vibrant and optimistic woman who spreads joy and cheer to all those around her. Charlie soaks up Arielle’s goodness because she needs something to believe in, to prove there are good people in the world, and not those would will steal Charlie’s soul because of years of lies, secrets and physical abuse. On the other hand, there is the love of family and friends who are there for Charlie, such as her aunt and cousins. She also has her best friend from her hometown, as well as new friends.
A little-known fact is the title Rage to Live isn’t just some words I put together to create an eye-catching title. It comes from Alexander Pope, one of the greatest poets and philosophers of all time. His Moral Essays is the muse that helped me with Charlie’s journey from dark to light. The section, better known as an epistle (Epistle II, To Mrs. M. Blount) is the guide I used when writing Rage to Live. I would have never expected six lines of poetry written in 1735 would influence me to write a powerful story of survival about a woman who chose me to write her tale by whispering her name in my ear.
“Wise wretch! with pleasures too refined to please,
With too much spirit to be e'er at ease,
With too much quickness ever to be taught,
With too much thinking to have common thought:
You purchase pain with all that joy can give,
And die of nothing but a rage to live.”
― Alexander Pope, Moral Essays