I've noticed that unhappiness often springs from the difference between what we have and what we think we are "supposed" to have. In recent years, I've gotten better at letting go of those expectations, especially when they're externally driven. If a dream is truly something we want, if it's internally driven, that's one thing ... but the other kind, the ones other people tell me I "should" want or "have to" have, are just so much useless baggage. And it's hard to fly when you're weighed down with baggage.
I am never going to care all that much
about clothes and hair and makeup. It's a relief to admit that. I can
admire other people who really know how to put together an outfit, but
that isn't where I'm going to put my own energy. I'm "supposed" to want
my own car, this being the automobile-centric US ... but my husband and I
are the only single-car family on our block, and mostly I take the
train and leave driving to him.
I think dandelions are beautiful.
I like cheesy '70s pop songs. My maternal "biological clock" never
kicked in. I don't drink alcohol or coffee. All these are things I used
to feel weird about, as if I should apologize for being atypical. But
the nice thing about getting older is that you no longer give a rat's
kneecap about having different customs and preferences from those around
Yet the "shoulds" are insidious, and most writers know
them. Your book should have more romance in it ... you should've gotten
that award ... you should brand yourself ... you should write something
more mainstream ... you should be writing one book a year ... you should
be writing two books a year ... Here, too, we can cast off the
expectations dictated by others. We can work toward what we truly want,
and let go of the goals that represent only someone else's idea of what
we should want.
I'll close with some links and news:
Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter, launched an online book project today. At thedarkdays.com,
he's doing a serial novel project, posting regular installments, which
he describes as being like a TV show in that "once it’s out there, it’s
out there. So if a character in an episode of your favorite TV show does
or says something, the writers of the show have to honor that. Instead
of being able to delete any inconsistencies or mistakes, writing this
way will force me to work through any issues."
I'm the guest poster at Writers Read,
talking about the books I've been reading, whose voice would not
interfere with my own work in progress. Among the books discussed: Babbitt, The Dharma Bums, and Wendy and the Lost Boys.
Wednesday, February 8, from 6 - 7:30 PM, I'll be part of a Teen Author
Reading Night at the Jefferson Market Branch of the NY Public Library,
corner of 6th Ave and 10th St. I'm excited to appear with Kate Ellison,
Madeleine George, Peter Lerangis, Barnabus Miller, Carley Moore, and
Maryrose Wood, on a panel hosted by Barry Lyga. If you're in NYC then
and you're a YA fan, come check it out.
Finally, I've had some
giveaways on this blog recently, and I wanted to formally announce the
winners. My launch party giveaway ($150 to a library) was won by Tiff,
and I ended up buying a nice pile o' books of her choice for the
Pennsylvania school library where she works. The YA Hop giveaway was won
by FireStar Books, whose book is in the mail. Thank you all for the
lovely comments that were left on those posts--giveaways are the only
time I don't respond individually to all comments. But I did read and
enjoy them. :-)