Friday, January 21, 2011

In which this blogger reveals her true self...

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!


  1. My problem is that I've never tried to hide who I am.

    Writing? Hey, find the time when you're mostly likely to produce something ... AM and PM ... then, set a pattern where you sit at least an hour each day in from of the computer. (This says she who wasted today's writing time researching the inside of Romany caravans.)

  2. I always had a problem fitting in too. I can relate to characters who have the same issue. Funny how we never grow out of it?

    I'm going to look up Wings.

    Something about me? Sometimes I believe our brains can do a lot more than we think they can. That there actually be away to communicate telepathically. There have been too many coincidences in my life. That's weird to believe, right?

  3. People don't know about wormholes?!? WHAT!

    I used to hide what a complete nerd I was. Then I stopped caring what people think and I am much happier!

  4. For years I thought I was one of those perky, outgoing types. But it turns out I'm not. Even though I am confident when I need to be and can work a crowd when I have to, I am, at heart, an introvert. I enjoy my own company, I am confused when other people are mean, and I don't like playing psychological games (except with my characters...that's a whole other story.)

    And Wings has been on my TBR list but now it has moved to the top!

  5. First of all, I didn't break out in a true smile until you started describing the "real" you. Then it was plastered all over my face. Because it was beautiful and interesting. So never be afraid, because if you don't take chances, not only will you never fall, you'll also never reach those unbelievable heights you are capable of. And who says library gnomes can't be romantic??? NOW GET BACK TO WORK, WOMAN!

  6. I love going to SF conventions, have a Lt Uhura outfit and think I can just about scrape a story or two if I really tried!! I don't normally tell these to complete strangers but say if a new work colleague hears of these about me (cos I've worked in the same place now for nearly 10 years) - there is always the inevitable eye-rolling and suppressed titters! LOL!!!

    Take care

  7. Thank you so much for sharing more about yourself! I feel like I know you better now. I moved from the Midwest to Colorado not knowing a single person, all because of this romantic idea I had of needing to live where I could see mountains from my home. It's worked out great so far :)

    Something about me? I made up stories with a girl on the bus ride home during middle in I told fantasy stories that had woods, fairies, and creatures that I called "Chubbles" that I described as looking like the Pillsbury dough boy. Wow. Did I just share that?

  8. Thanks for visiting my blog today. I'm one of your followers, but since I tend to follow loosely, you may not have realized. :)

    Writers in the blogging community are sooo supportive of one another. Something cool: at the last conference I went to, I bumped into people I'd already "met" via blogs. Super fun!

    And yes, be yourself! Good advice!

  9. Love this blogging community b/c of all the love and support they offer. Still surprises me that people are interested in what I have to say! :P
    Happy weekend,

  10. people who aren't writers look at me funny when i say my characters keep me awake at night.

  11. and i love fantasy/sci fi too. i was amazed at how many writers at Glen Eyrie were Trek fans.

  12. Problem fitting in? Check. Lord of the Ring addict? Check. I know where you're coming from.

    As for the one thing about myself I hide from all but friends and family? I'm a writer.

    I'm 21. I spent three years studying "serious science". I'm a geek. I'd tell that to anyone. But I still hide to most that every spare hour I can find is spent perfecting my craft, and that I secretly dream of being published.

    Except here, on the internet, among the wonderful community of bloggers. Here I can say it without fear. :)

  13. Okay, Wings is at my library. NOw I'm going to have to go read it! And I think it's important to be ourselves. All the time!

  14. When I was younger I had a huge crush on Frodo : )

    Also I used to hide being a writer too. I don't know why I did that.. I should never have been ashamed of it.

    It feels much better to be honest about who you are in all aspects of your life.

  15. Keep going with the writing! You're making awesome progress!

    And I love the blogging world for exactly that reason - we can all find each other, respect and care for each other, and people who aren't kind are respectfully booed off the stage. Because who needs that kind of nasty in their lives?

    I'm glad you've embraced YOU. And I'm going to have to read that book... :)

  16. Great post! I have this theory that most writers become writers because it's one of the best ways they can be themselves. The writerly types are known for being more than a little quirky (one their quirks being their general pride in their quirkiness...), and I would imagine that a good many of us seek expression in fiction because it's difficult for us to express ourselves in "normal" ways. It's a wonderful weirdness though, isn't it?

  17. Okay, I came across this post a little late, but i have to ask - are you my long lost twin? It could have almost been me writing this post! Another 40-something that loves fairy-tales and wants only to be herself! Oh, I'm all about just that! Nice to meet you!



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