The Martian, The Dust Bowl, and The Will to Live


This weekend my husband and I went to see The Martian. It was every bit as good as I’d hoped, maybe even a little better. I know I’m enjoying a movie when I don’t analyze plot and characterization and just get pulled into the story.

At one point, after all seemed lost, I thought about the strong will to survive. How hard people will strive to keep going. It takes such strength, such energy, such grit.

Toward the very end of the film (don’t worry, this is no spoiler) the protagonist Mark says:

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin.”

Because the folks from The Dust Bowl are constantly in the front of my mind these days, I thought of them. article-0-140E5A07000005DC-45_964x1040

I think of the women who planted gardens, even though they had to fight the dust every day in order to save their crop. How hard they fought to keep their homes clean, even though a dust storm was just days away, ready to bury them yet again.

I’m mindful of the men who fought off the jackrabbits, who got up each morning to tend the dead land, who believed the rain would come some day. The towns full of people who stuck it out, fighting for their land.

And I think about those I’ve known. Friends and family who have shown such a strong will to live. Through illness and hard times, financial insecurity and relational problems.

It comes from this deep an inexhaustible belief that life matters. That we have a purpose.

It takes grit, my friends, to make it. Grit to stand in the face of defeat and refuse to backdown.

It takes grit to begin.

*NOTE: A Cup of Dust officially releases tomorrow (Oct. 27). You can preorder the ebook today. ALSO: You’re invited to a Release Day Online Facebook Bash! Giveaways, videos, fun…who could want anything more! And all from the comfort of your own home. Hope you’ll join me!

6 Comments on “The Martian, The Dust Bowl, and The Will to Live

  1. That is one of the reasons I write. When I started, I thought I knew it all. I thought I knew my characters, but the more I throw at them, the stronger they get; the harder they fight.

    I have a terrible confession to make: I’m inspired by my own characters. Author me hurls the world’s deadliest poisons at them (Sexism, Racism, lack of justice, death, etc) and they fight through it. On days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed, or writing, or almost anything at all, I just think of my characters. “What would Viera do? What about Arthur or Aura?” Then my day to day problems don’t seem nearly as bad.

    Thanks for the inspiration and reminder this morning!



    • Oh, I get what you’re saying, Paul! Pearl (from A Cup of Dust) is a HUGE inspiration to me. So is Olga (from My Mother’s Chamomile). It’s amazing to see how writing changes us. 🙂


  2. I used to think I didn’t have the survival gene. I couldn’t even understand people who did. What a difference Hope makes! And Grace! And Faith! And their source, God! I’ve come a long way, baby! Now, stories about perseverance and its rewards are my fave!


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