Erin Jade Lange Left No ‘Dead Ends’ During MHS Visit

Stefani Zeiger, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Illinois native and Best Selling Young Adult Author Erin Jade Lange visited MHS on April 10. Lange spoke to groups of students and teachers during first and second period and held a creative writing workshop titled “Writing with Voice” during third period.

Lange has written “Butter”, “Dead Ends”, “Rebel Bully Geek Pariah” and is currently working on her fourth novel about the dangers of anonymity on the internet.

Lange’s novels are all based on real life issues and personal struggles. As a kid, Lange was a victim of bullying, and because of it, she’s grown as a person.

“People were cruel to me, and I have scars because of that cruelty,” said Lange.

As part of her presentation, Lange presented an illustration of a body with markings indicating where her physical scars were. She takes pride in these and believes that each one tells a story.

A large part of Lange’s career involved stories, as she was a journalist for 18 years. Certain stories unknowingly stuck with her, which subtly led to inspiration for books.

For example, Abraham Biggs was a teenager in Florida. Biggs committed suicide on a live stream in 2009; his story stuck with Lange subconsciously and was a factor in the topics written in “Butter”.

“What I try to do with my stories is give [readers] hope…before it [is] too late,” said Lange.

Lange uses her writing to show her audience that suicide is never an option; there is more out there. She inspires her readers by writing about these tough topics rather than avoiding them.

“I really loved when Erin Jade Lange came in,” said Dani Adaska, junior. “I’d read her book “Butter” and loved it, so it was a really great experience to be able to talk to an author about the way she writes and what inspired her to write what she did.”

All of Lange’s novels are based on current events and life experiences. She incorporates Midwestern values into her books, specifically with her characters’ personalities.

“[There’s this] tell-it-like-it-is sort of nonsenseness that my characters embody,” said Lange.

Illinois also inspired the location for “Rebel Bully Geek Pariah”, as it’s based off of Lange’s hometown. It’s also her only novel that takes place in a fictional town.

Lange’s latest project is about the horrors of what happens on the internet. It’s meant to be a follow up to the topics of “Butter” (livestreamed suicide) and is set to be released in 2019.

“Everything we do now is online. What adults see in the halls at school [makes them think] things are getting better, but people have learned to save their cruelty for the anonymity of the internet,” said Lange.

Lange shared a statistic about how nearly 83 percent of people were bullied online in a 30-day time span. Bullying has an impact on such a large amount of people, including Lange, which is why she writes about it, but she also writes about it in order to offer hope.

Lange said, “There’s too much talk about what we’re dying for and not what we’re living for.”

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Erin Jade Lange Left No ‘Dead Ends’ During MHS Visit