WHITE PICKET FENCES
White Picket Fences is a story about a family that seems to have the perfect iconic life. Perfect house, perfect jobs, perfect neighborhood, perfect everything. But they live on the same fallen planet as the rest of us and they have the same flaws. To pretend all is well when all is not is to doom yourself to a life of pretense and disappointment and maybe even despair. You can only sweep under the rug that which you don’t want to see for only so long before everyone starts to trip over it. The Janvier family needs to admit everything isn’t perfect and deal with ugliness. Or they will quite likely lose each other.
About the Author:
Susan Meissner is the author of eleven novels, including The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Books of 2008 and winner of the Christian Book of the Year for Fiction. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoys teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with her family, music, reading great books, and traveling. She lives in southern California with her pastor husband and their four grown children.
I cannot remember a time when I wasn't driven to put my thoughts down on paper. I attribute this love for writing to a creative God and to parents who love books and more particularly to a dad who majored in English and passed on a passion for writing.
I was born and raised in San Diego, California, and am the second of three daughters. My first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories I wrote when I was eight. My second-grade teacher gave me the journal I in which I recorded these poems and stories. To my knowledge I was the only student in her class that she gave a journal to; she must have seen promise in me. In high school my freshman composition teacher found all kinds of ways to encourage me to develop my skills as a writer. Without telling me beforehand, he read the first composition I ever wrote for him aloud to the class. That's how much he liked it. I have never forgotten how it felt to hear him begin to read something to the entire class and realize it was something I had written.
Several years ago I was a court-appointed advocate for children involved in protective services. There were times when I saw that despite the outward appearance of a less-than-perfect home, a child could be loved there. Just because a parent is unconventional or unsuccessful career-wise or makes choices that buck societal norms, it doesn’t mean that he or she is by default a “bad” parent. Likewise, parents who we would traditionally call “good” -meaning they provide, they protect, they don’t hit, they don’t ridicule – can nevertheless make decisions regarding their children that have hugely negative effects and yet their outward appearance would never lead anyone to suspect it. This is the thematic backdrop for White Picket Fences. Even if you live behind a white picket fence, you still have to deal with the fallout of a living in a broken world. You can’t hide from it. The perfect, idyllic life is an illusion. Life is a weave of both delight and disappointment and it’s precisely these things that give it definition and depth. To ignore what is ugly is to cheapen what is beautiful.