I just read a book that not only really inspired me but just reminded me of a life lesson that I've struggled with ever since I was a kid.
I'm not going to tell you what book (yet) but it was a YA paranormal. As I was gushing about it on Goodreads, writing down the things I loved about it, I found myself typing these words:
"I think the most important thing teenagers need to know is that it is okay to be yourself, whoever you are, whatever your quirks are, your strengths and your weaknesses. You don't need to put on an act. You don't need to copy cat others or wish you could be like someone else. You are your very best when you are yourself."
I was never one of those teenagers that fit in. Sometimes I wished I was, and I tried to "play the game" but it just made me unhappy. So I'd just go back to being myself, and if I got strange looks once in a while (especially during my Lord of the Rings phase when my way of speaking became a little odd and elvish at times), then so be it.
I still struggle with it as an adult from time to time. I try to appear (even on this blog) as a nice normal American mom who writes on the side and reads lots of fantasy books. But suddenly I'm compelled just to smile and say, "what the heck is normal, anyway?"
Truth is, I'm forty years old and I love fairy tales and unicorns and princesses and I'm deeply passionate about certain books (I even moved to Wyoming because my all time favorite books are set in Wyoming) (My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead and Green Grass of Wyoming, by Mary O'Hara in case you are wondering) and I might just exchange 10 years of my life for one year, maybe even one day, in Middle Earth.
I have been known to take walks in aspen groves and talk to the trees and sunsets make me cry and when I read about someone who loved someone else so much they died or almost died for them it takes my breath away because I believe in the strength of true love. I want to write stories about this deep love, love that transcends fear and hate and one-upping and making fun of other people and racism and all the other uglies in life.
A while back, Lisa Gail Green pegged my paranormal self as a library gnome, and that's pretty darn close, but I'd like to add that I am also a romantic library gnome who sometimes dreams of growing wings and taming dragons.
I also admit to being a SF geek and one of the most embarrassing moments of my life was when I was having lunch with a lady I very much respected and she asked me about my writing. I told her I was writing a short story called "The Diamond Wormhole."
She looked at me with very wide, wary eyes. "Wormhole?"
"Yeah - you know - a wormhole." (I thought everybody knew about wormholes. Star Trek has been on TV for almost FIFTY YEARS in one form or another. Surely everyone has seen at least one episode?).
I suddenly realized that this lady was envisioning a slimy tunnel in garden dirt instead of the shimmering paradox of time and space that I envisioned. We continued with polite conversation on the weather and recent events and then went our separate ways and I was afraid to talk to anyone about my writing (except for my other writer friends) for years. (By the way, I still respect the lady; I've come to appreciate her for many other reasons, even if she never has watched Star Trek. I also understand that Lord of the Rings isn't on everybody's reading list, either).
But every once in a while I shrug off my frightened little self that is afraid of wary reactions and let the passion spill out. It's especially easy to do it here because while people can't hurt each other with looks on blogs, they could hurt each other with words; but I have YET TO SEE any meanness or the wordy equivalent of rolling eyes and behind-the-back smirks on the writing blogs I visit. I think that is amazing.
Please share with me something about yourself that you sometimes keep "hidden" because you're afraid of rolling eyes or wary looks. Or if you'd rather not (and I totally understand), tell me YOUR reasons why you love this blogging community of writers and book lovers.
The book was Wings, by Aprilynne Pike, by the way. And oh, please also leave a comment on this post for a chance to win two books of your choice. I love your comments, and since I've fallen behind on my writing this week, I need the encouragement!