When I first began querying editors with what was then a story picture book called The Voice of Thunder, my query included the word timeless. For some reason I felt that I needed to emphasize that a story set in the past was still relevant.
After expanding the story into a longer story for readers in middle grades and up, I added the word timely to the query.
Some part of me knew that it was both. Now, only months after the novel’s release, war has broken out again. More than forty-five years (and a few wars in between) after the story’s setting, once again Israelis everywhere have cleared their basement shelters and readied them to serve for what they were intended when built.
In the intervening years many of the shelters became storage spaces, filled with bicycles and unused furniture. The two Gulf wars brought scud missile attacks, but for these Israelis were told to use sealed rooms in their homes and gas masks. The basement shelters remained filled with clutter.
In Gaza the war never ended. I don’t know if the building codes there are similar to Israel’s, where every residence must have a shelter. But the ongoing shelling and bombing from the air is a sad part of the reality, even as it is spaced by periods of a lull in violence.
My story is tragically as timely as ever.
©Shalom of Safed
I pray for peace, and by definition peace can only come when it is peace for all.