Tag Archives: a change of pace

in which i visit an imagined place

My first night in Geneva, I was lying in a stranger’s bedroom, reading Mary Shelley on my phone, and hovering on the edges of a panic attack. Golden light from the streetlamps filtered in through the open window. Somewhere down the road, the tram bell rang.

Maybe I should explain.

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First of all, in spite of how it sounds, I was not having a one-night-stand with a handsome Swiss cheesemaker. I was in a stranger’s bedroom because Marx and I were doing Switzerland cheap, so we were staying with a woman who we found on a couch surfing website. She was an environmentalist, spoke little English, and offered us a variety of extravagant teas1.

I was reading History of a Six Weeks Tour by Mary Shelley on my phone because I have so far only been able to find it online, and this was our first real wifi in a while. The book is a compilation of letters written between Mary Shelley, her husband, and their friends while the pair was living abroad, including in Geneva, which is where she wrote Frankenstein.

Which is why we were in Geneva. Oh yes, the panic. My novel—the one that comes out next year, and is a reimagining of Frankenstein, if you’re new here—is set there.

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So here I was, in a stranger’s bedroom, trying to fall asleep reading, waiting for morning so I could walk through a place that had up until this moment only existed in my head.

Visiting Geneva felt like coming to an imagined place, like Narnia or Gondor, or visiting my own thoughts. Geneva was the first place I had ever written about that I hadn’t visited. Sure, I spent hours on Google maps, read books—of both the historical and the vacation-prep variety—along with every travel blog and photo essay and newspaper article about Geneva I could find.

But I hadn’t been there. And being there is something totally different.

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I’m a very setting-heavy writer. The word that most frequently gets tossed around to describe my writing is atmospheric, and I am one-hundred percent okay with that. I love travel. I love place. I’ve had whole novels spring out of places I’ve visited2. But atmosphere is more than just streets and geography and place names. It’s a feeling, and that’s why I love traveling—to feel a place.

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So what if I got out in Geneva and realized that I got had got that feeling wrong? As soon as I visited, there would be a right and wrong answer to what I had written. Maybe this was a terrible mistake, I thought. I almost woke Marx up right then and asked her if we could maybe just hang out at the airport for the next three days until our flight left. I’m a rational human being.

But I didn’t. The next morning, we woke up and set out to explore Geneva.

Mary Shelley did not like Geneva. When you read her letters, she goes on and on about how much she loves the countryside, and the Alps, and even the wildlife3, but when she writes about Geneva itself, she sounds sort of grumbly and unhappy. She thought the buildings were too high, too ugly. She hated that the guards at the city gates couldn’t be bribed into letting you into the city past ten pm. “There is nothing… in [Geneva],” she writes, “that can repay you for the trouble of walking over its rough stones.”

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On the afternoon of our first day in the city, I left Marx by a fountain on the edge of the old town and went wandering on my own, thinking about what Mary had written, and what I had written, and the things we had both imagined happening on these streets, and mostly how much I liked Geneva. I liked the rough cobblestones and the hills. I liked the silt-colored buildings that made the streets into hallways. I liked the fountains, and the window boxes, and the wind off the lake. I liked the sound of people speaking French. I liked the Alps in the distance, and the foothills, and the vineyards that climbed up them.

Screw you, Mary Shelley. I liked Geneva.

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So I walked the streets of Mary’s book, and my book–the one big thing we shared–and thought about what we didn’t share, and the filters though which we saw this city. There’s the space between us–both the time, and the distance, and places we’d come from. The experiences we’d had. Who we were and where we were and what we were doing there and why. All the things we’d done and the things we hadn’t and all the things that made this city different for the pair of us.

This city existed in both of our heads. It was both of our imagined places4.

 

  1. We declined.
  2. Including large parts of this novel, which came from my Christmas market trip with Magwitch two years ago.
  3. One of my favorite lines from the letters is, Did I tell you there are wolves among these mountains? Someday I plan to analyze the crap out of that line, and make it into some poetic metaphor that hipsters will Photoshop overtop of their filtered Instagram landscapes.
  4. Also we found this steampunk carousel and I loved it and it didn’t fit anywhere in the post, so I’m just going to stick it here instead. DSC_1127
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in which I read Tuck Everlasting

One of the benefits of being a student of children’s literature is that you get to revisit a lot of books from your childhood. Some of these books I read so long ago it feels like another lifetime, but I remember the way they made me feel, and it’s interesting to compare that to how they make me feel now as a sometimes adult.

Recently, I revisited Tuck Everlasting1 by Natalie Babbitt, a novel I read for the first time in elementary school and have reread several times since then. Each time I revisit it, my affection for this skinny little book has grown, until this week it exploded in a mess of inarticulate feelings all over the freshmen I was supposed to be teaching it to2. Because every time I read it, it’s different. Or rather, I’m different, and my experience adjusts accordingly. In Tuck Everlasting, the difference stands out most strongly in the character I see myself as.

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The first time I read Tuck Everlasting, I was Winnie Foster. I must have been around ten myself, with that same sort of righteous indignation3 stored up inside my heart. And I felt the weight of everything, the impossible weight of entering the double digits, or starting to understand that there were forces at work in the world that I could not control. Why couldn’t we all live forever? Why did beautiful things have to end? Why couldn’t you drink the water and live forever with the carefree boy you found in the woods? I understood that things had to die, but I couldn’t understand why.

The next time I read it, many years later in high school, I was Jesse. Barefoot, bounding Jesse, wildly in love with everything about living, even the parts I didn’t like. I felt like I was always bubbling up with something, like there was this fountain inside me that would never run dry. There was nothing at work beyond the confines of my small sphere of existence, which would never cease to be amazing. Time did not exist. I felt invincible. I wasn’t, but I felt like I was, like I could never be irreparably broken, inside or out.

Then the next time, starting my second semester of grad school, I was Miles. A little bit heavier with what I’d left behind and carrying around empty holes that weighed just as much as the things and people that used to fill them. Not quite certain what I was or where I was meant to fit in the world, and not sure how to go about puzzling all that out. And I had started to understand not just the forces of the world and how they worked on me, but that I was a part of them. Where I sat on the wheel. How it carried me. And that someday I’d fall off it, just like everyone does.

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art by Jeremy Aaron Moore

And then I read this book last week, and I thought about who I am now.

Now I’m sort of all of them. I’m old and I’m young. One day I feel indestructible. The next like I’m already in pieces that can never be put back together. I am Tuck, with regrets and things I wish I had not done. I am Mae, trying to hold things together that maybe can’t be held. I am Gran, who hears fairy music in the woods. Some days I’m even the Man in the Yellow Suit, aware of the fact that I could exploit and hurt those around me if I wanted to.

While Tuck Everlasting is most often billed as a children’s book about the perils of living forever, really it’s a book about how we all live every day on terms with life’s big incomprehensible ideas, and it gives no easy answers to any of the questions it asks. Because in the end, there is no easy answer. To anything. It’s most truthful in that sense. I don’t understand everything about living and dying—no one does. Some days, I can wrap my brain around the immensity of it and have a few minutes of peace and clarity and understanding about how the earth moves. Other days, it totally freaks me out.

Today while discussing this book with my freshmen, some of them expressed dissatisfaction with the ending *SPOILER ALERT*—they wanted to know why Winnie didn’t drink the water and live forever with the Tucks. What happened between Jesse leaving her with a bottle of water on her front lawn and Tuck finding her tombstone eighty years later? They felt like something was missing.

For me, there is nothing dissatisfying about this ending. In fact, I think it is the perfect end for this perfect book. Because the answer to the question “What happened?” is that life happened. Winnie’s life. There didn’t have to be one big idea, one revelation, one moment of decision or impact where she realized truly that death and life are interchangeable. There didn’t have to be one thing that made her realize that life with death was better than life without it. Because life is that moment—life and its great bit pile of good things and bad things and the things that come in between.

As the Man in the Yellow Suit says, “Like all magnificent things, it is very simple.” And then again, it’s not.

  1. If you don’t know or haven’t read Tuck Everlasting, please rectify that immediately. Not to oversell it, but it’s a staggering work of impossible genius.
  2. Contrary to how this makes it sounds, my freshers and I did have a very coherent and amazing discussion about Tuck Everlasting today. It was awesome enough to inspire this post, actually. But I do have a lot of feelings, which they were on the receiving end of in the last few minutes of class.
  3.  I was totally that kid who said “I am running away!” And then made it to the corner before coming back. It was the principle of the thing.
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in which December comes and goes

Every day for the past month, I have woken up with the same thought: Today will be the day I update my blog.

But that didn’t happen. December is not a great month for blogging. December’s not a great month for doing anything other than eating yourself sick and pulling your hair out over Christmas gifts.

So here’s a super quick recap of some of the things I did in December that did not involve binge eating or stress shopping:

–The MT and I explored Boston together. And let me tell you, you have not explored Boston until you have explored it with the MT.

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Seriously, friends. It was a time. We committed treason (see above), skated in a cemetery, wrote on museum walls, went to a Speakeasy, ate food in weird places,  wore strange hats, and were transcendental. Among other activities.

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–Flew home and celebrated Christmas with my family in Utah. Which included my mom giving us a knitted sorting hat from Harry Potter. We also got a Darth Vader voice changer mask. Not knitted.

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–Blind taste tested 13 sugar cookies on a quest to find the most delicious sugar cookie in the Salt Lake Valley.

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Seriously, it was a blind taste test. As in we were blind folded.

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The best sugar cookie in Utah, in case you were wondering, can be found at One Smart Cookie.

–Attended a Renaissance-themed murder mystery party dressed as Shakespeare.

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The  MT also came along, dressed as an Irish mercenary/Hamlet/Ronan Lynch.

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–Ate at my favorite Utah restaurant, Cafe Rio, multiple times with 14, fresh from her Norwegian adventure. No picture. Because I don’t believe in taking pictures of your food.

–On that subject, I ate too much good food.

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This is one of many examples. Resisting posting all of them.

–Read some great books out loud with the MT. Then made sweaters based on them, a picture of which was then retweeted by the author of said books. (MY LIFE IS NOT SUPER EXCITING, OKAY!? THESE ARE THE BIG MOMENTS OF MY LIFE!)

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–Saw friends.

–Saw my dog.

–Saw my mom holding a bowl for water so my dog would be more comfortable when she drinks.

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–Was given a Norwegian Christmas troll to protect me. I think he’s actually meant to cause mischief, but he loves me, and so I have trained him to be my guardian.

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His name is Chainsaw.

–Was given some excellent fan art by the MT. Bonus points if you can name either of these characters. 

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And I think that was December. I’m gonna be better about blogging from here on out. I made a pact with myself. I said, “Self, you should be better about blogging.” So that’s gonna happen. I’m even gonna go out of my way to do strange things that will result in good stories for the blog.

It’ll happen. Just wait. You’ll see.

Happy 2014.

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in which I talk about anxiety

My brain is made up of two parts.

One part works full time at telling me in a gentle monotone to be patient, and that things will work out because they always do, and nothing is as bad is it seems. It has a sharp tie in muted pastel and wire framed glasses, and starts most sentences with the word “actually.” Its shoes are sensible, its tea earl grey, and it’s always in bed by ten o’clock sharp. That is the rational part of my brain.

Then there is the other half. It wears neon colors and it screams. It flashes the lights so that I can’t focus on anything else and hollers NO THINGS WILL NOT WORK OUT. YOU WILL NEVER BE GOOD AT ANYTHING. AND EVEN IF YOU ARE, IT WON’T BE GOOD ENOUGH. It is not patient. It is not kind. It is mostly made of bottle rockets and alarm bells, and it can take one sentence, one email, one deadline six months away and chatter about it for days and days and days until it blows up like a hand grenade. That is the irrational part of my brain.

Sometimes they balance. I can keep them talking to each other instead of talking to me, and the scales even out to something like quiet.

But then there are days like today, when one thing—and that one thing can be anything from the dust under my bed to where I see myself in forty years—and suddenly I am 99% irrational brain, and it is screaming and stamping and sending up sparks and flying off the handle, and the rational brain is fighting to be heard over top of it so he starts shouting too, and then they’re both shouting, shouting, shouting and it’s altogether too much noise inside me.

It’s not a good feeling.

Anxiety manifests itself in different ways for different people. I am not the sort of person whose anxiety makes it so I can’t get out of bed or eat, and it doesn’t make me feel the need to strip in the middle of a crowded square or stop breathing. My anxiety can look you straight in the eyes and smile and say I’m fine, even though my teeth are gritted and everything inside of me is screaming out of control like a runaway train.

I don’t know why some days I can deal with my anxiety and others I can’t. Why some days, I can step back from myself and listen to that rational part of me and understand that things will work out, and there’s not point worrying over what I can’t control. But there are other days where I can hear what that rational voice is saying and even understand it, but I can’t believe it. And then other days where I can’t even hear it because my worrying is too loud.

I give advice I can’t take. I make obsessive lists. I schedule every minute. I stare at the ceiling. I don’t sleep.

And I keep going.

That is how I deal with my anxiety. I keep going.

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in which I am grateful

Today, I am grateful for….

Diet coke
An apartment with both a washing machine and a dishwasher
Children’s literature
Goodreads
Sweaters
Instant yeast
Jayne Cobb
Steampunk
My fox hat
Frankenstein
Panera French onion soup
The Matilda the Musical soundtrack
The autosave function on Microsoft Word
Netflix
Where the Wild Things Are
Boston
Wellies
Twitter
Good books
Redvines
Benedict Cumberbatch
Fan art
Living three blocks from a library
My R2D2 iPhone case
Gifs
Friends I adore, family I miss, and the chance to study and write things that I am passionate about 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. From my couch to yours.

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in which I don’t get an answer

Years ago, when I was in high school and my world spun on a different axis, I auditioned for a play. I wanted the lead role really badly. I was having the typical “what do I do with my life?” crisis and I thought that getting cast in this role would somehow confirm that theater was my place in the world I was about to enter. When I got a callback, I thought, I am going to get this part, and this part is going to be my answer to all the big questions I was asking about theater and the future.

But it wasn’t.

I didn’t get the part. And I was pretty sad about that for a while1. Mostly, I was upset because I thought this show was my answer—something that was going to set me on a course towards my destiny—and it wasn’t.

But it turns out, it kind of was. Because I wasn’t cast in that show, I had my first opportunity to direct a play, which set me indirectly on a path towards children’s literature2.

Fast forward a few years. Just before I moved to Boston, I started having Second Thoughts. You may be familiar with Second Thoughts. They are those niggling little worms of doubt that accompany any big change or decision you ever make in life. If you’re me, they also come with anxiety, nausea, and mild panic attacks every thirty or so minutes. How would I ever pay off these student loans? What was the point of an MFA when people get published all the time without one? Isn’t children’s lit just a stupid thing to study? Maybe this was a waste of time.

So the big question became, Should I move to Boston?

Then, a few months before I moved, I was asked to interview for a dream job. This is a sign, I thought. I am going to get this job, and I will not do my MFA and I will not move to Boston and I will not get up to my eyeballs in debt. This is my answer.

But it wasn’t.

Since you read this blog, you probably know I didn’t get that job. I was a sad over this for a while, and this was magnified by my anxiety over the move to Boston and the start of the MFA. But it turns out that job was my answer. My answer was moving to Boston, because now I’m exactly where I should be.

About a year ago, I got my heart broken in an “I will never love again” sort of way. But then I met a young man with whom I had Chemistry with a capital C. He was handsome and charming and we had the same favorite poem and affinity for jazz-age disillusionment. This guy, I thought, is going to counteract all the damage done by the first one. Even if we don’t have some epic love story, he is going to restore my faith in love and romance. This is my answer, I thought.

But it wasn’t.

He ended up being a tool, and I ended up seeing The Great Gatsby alone. But in a way, he was an answer. An answer to the question of, “Do I need someone to be happy with who I am3?”

This week, I thought I was going to get an answer.

But, as you might have guessed, I didn’t.

And it’s hard, in the wake of disappointment, to look at things not working out as maybe being an answer. I can tell myself these stories and still not recognize the direct correlation to my current situation.

But while right now I am lamenting the fact that I did not get my answer, a small part of me understands that in a way, I did.

  1. I was definitely pretty scowly as I sat in the audience and watched the performance.
  2. Via directing plays for people, then directing plays for slightly smaller people, and then discovering that those small people are usually the best people.
  3. Answer: No.
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in which some days are perfect

A few days ago, the MT and I were texting. As we do.

And we started talking about a day we had the weekend before I came back to Boston. The family, along with 14, went to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. The MT and I traded a few texts with quotes and memories of funny things that had happened that day, and it ended with one of us1 saying, “That was a perfect day.”

Except it wasn’t.

It was really hot that day. I was really tired because we had to get up early and the drive was long. The chairs we had to sit on were super uncomfortable. Our sandwiches were squished. I’d just got my haircut and my bangs looked weird. I think my mom and I got in an argument at some point.  

But when I look back on it, even remembering all those things, it was still a perfect day.

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This is a photo of 14 from said perfect day. It is one of two photos I have of this day, and the other one is blurry.  

Most days are not perfect. Most days are not even good. But still, at the end of most days, when I turn off the lights and go to bed, the first thing I think is, “Today was a nice day.” Even after a lot of shelving at work and even if my knees hurt and even if the T was slow and I didn’t get as much done as I needed to, usually when I look back on the day, I realize it was nice. Even on the bad days, there are good things hidden inside them.

I know this world is far from perfect, and most days further still. But I’ve been thinking a lot about perfect days, and how they are possible. They happen in spite of everything.   

  1. Can’t remember which but it was probably me.  
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in which I have a perfect weekend

Oh look, I have a blog!

I forgot I have a blog. As you might have noticed. Because it’s been a while since I posted.

The weeks since the return to Boston have been good but busy, hence the lack of blogging. I started school, started a new job, started working on my thesis1 with my advisor, celebrated a birthday, went to an epic twenties murder mystery party for said birthday.

And then this past weekend, I went to New York.

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The New York trip has been in the works for a while. It was originally meant to include a bunch of Simmons friends, but one by one they dropped out, like we were touring Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. In the end, it was just me and a friend of mine who I don’t think has appeared on the blog before, so let’s call her Milton.

Milton and I went to New York this weekend with an agenda that included various children’s lit shenanigans. So I knew it was going to be great.  I did not realize it was going to be the Most Perfect Weekend Ever.

Here are the three reasons my weekend in New York was the Most Perfect Weekend Ever:

1. The Children’s Literature

The primary reason behind this trip was going to the New York Public Library exhibit on children’s literature. Which was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Not only were the artifacts on display super gorgeous2, Milton and I kept geeking out about beautiful the exhibit itself was. You could tell it was created with a lot of love and care by people who really love children’s books. There was a tower of banned books, a recreation of the room from Goodnight Moon, and even a giant wild thing!

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We also got to attend the Brooklyn Book Festival, which is the largest literary festival in New York and one of the largest in the US. It was amazing. We got to hear amazing authors talk, including David Levithan, Meg Cabot, Lauren Myracle, Katherine Applegate, and Jasper Fforde. Of course, I got to bulk up my signed books collection and just sort of bask in the awesomeness of so many awesome and creative people in the same place.

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2. The Theater

I saw two shows this weekend. First was Once, which has been playing for a while but I hadn’t seen until this weekend. I…liked it with reservations. It had some issues, but overall was still a beautiful and moving theatrical experience. I had very good seats that were purchased for much cheaper because they were last minute, and, as I do almost every time I’m at a show of that caliber, I just felt lucky to be there.

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Then Milton and I saw Matilda, which I have been waiting to see for years, ever since it opened at the RSC just after I left England. I am an avid fan of the novel on which it is based, and just a great lover of Roald Dahl in general. This musical was made for me. Tickets right now are bleeding expensive and hard to come by, so this took a bit of planning ahead of time to see3. And in spite of that, we were still in the nethermost regions of the topmost balcony. It sort of felt like watching the show from a low-flying airplane. But none of the mattered because OMG MATILDA!

I have seen a lot of theater over the course of my life. Matilda is easily in my top five4. Maybe top three. Just absolutely the most beautiful theatrical experience ever. I was definitely predisposed to like this show as it is a fusion of the two things I love most in the world, theater and children’s literature5. But seriously, it was just sensational. Blew my mind. Loved every minute.

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3. The Perfect Timing

Something about this weekend just made everything go right. Little things, like me coming out of the subway right at the same time as Ariel, with whom I was again lodging, so I didn’t have to wander around Brooklyn in the dark. Having the exact right amount of money on my metrocard. The fact that twice Milton and I had very specific cravings and they both manifested within minutes6. Weird things like that just went right. It’s amazing for a trip to go off without a hitch, and this one actually went off better than that. It didn’t just go as anticipated, it went better.

It was also perfectly timed because the last month has been sort of rough. Starting the new job has been hard and exhausting, working on my thesis has been hard and exhausting, working on the other project with my agent has been emotionally draining, and just moving in general and readjusting to Boston has left me beat. I really needed a win this weekend. I really needed a perfect weekend.

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  1. Which one minute is giving me writer’s high and the next makes me want to Sherlock-style throw myself off a building.
  2. Secret Garden manuscript pages! PL Travers’s umbrella! Original illustrations from Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland!
  3. And a small nest egg.
  4. Hamlet at the National Theater, Pippin at ART, Eastland at LookingGlass, and Romeo and Juliet at the RSC. If you were interested.
  5. And it even falls in that weirdly specific category of children’s lit and theater I like, which is dark whimsy.
  6. Number One: “I want frozen yogurt…oh look, there’s a woman handing out coupons for Orange Leaf.” Number two: “I want Panera French onion soup…oh look, there’s a Panera on the next block.”
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in which I discuss the thoroughly modern woman

Allow me a moment to muse on female heroines. I am not a bra-burning feminist and my opinions here are pretty mild, so I hope no one runs away.

This past weekend, I went with some friends to see Thoroughly Modern Millie, one of my favorite campy Broadway musicals. I saw this show once when I was around twelve and loved it. The dancing, the flappers, the 20s music—but the thing I really remembered loving was Millie. Twelve year old me loved Millie as a character. Even at twelve, before I understood what sexism felt like, I recognized that Millie was different from most of the women that populated musicals. She was sassy, smart, and brave, and I carried Millie with me for years as a heroine with something to hold onto.

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Millie as played by Sutton Foster on Broadway
Is she not the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen!?

So then I saw Thoroughly Modern Millie again this weekend, and it was exactly the same delightful show I remembered. But about halfway through, II found myself thinking, “I don’t remember this show being so much about marriage.” Little me had not registered that Millie, brave and driven as she is, was all the time driving towards finding herself a husband. But as I watched the show, I realized that her goal in no way destroyed my image of her as the feminist icon that I had carried from my tweens. Millie was still, in a lot of ways, everything I wanted to be, despite the fact that marriage is pretty low on my priorities list and I don’t usually associate feminist icons with a strong desire to settle down with a man.

Which got me thinking.

I read a really great article last week called “Why I Hate Strong Female Characters” by Sophia McDougal. Though I don’t agree with everything she says, I liked the main take away, which is that the idea of a Strong Female Character is a damaging one. First because it creates a differentiation between the genders that we are trying to fight. No one every praises a book for having a strong male character, but we say it all the time about women.

The article also pushed back against the idea that a strong female character is one who wears trousers, cuts her hair short, and knows how to fight. So many books and movies today say, “Look! Woman fires a gun! Woman punches snarky man in face! She is strong! She is independent! She is sexy! Aspire to be her!” In my experience, these are the women that usually come off as violent and volatile, but they lack their own drive in life. And when the moment comes for them to actually take a stand and take care of themselves, they fall apart.

Millie doesn’t throw any punches. She doesn’t go into battle. She doesn’t hold a gun. She does bob her hair, but that’s all in pursuit of fashion. What she does do is set her sights on what she wants, move actively towards it, roll with the setbacks that come along the way, and adjust her plan to fit them. And in the end, she recognizes and lets go of her flaws. Which are all things I want to emulate in my own life.

It didn’t matter that she wanted to get married and I don’t. I’ve been laboring for a while under an incorrect idea that a desire to fall in love and get married is a defect in a woman’s character, and I’m trying to let go of that. Millie showed me otherwise. She is an example of a woman who is fine on her own but better with someone else. It doesn’t make her weak. It doesn’t mean she needs a man to complete her. It just means she knows what she wants, and she goes, and she finds it and she gets it. And I freaking love that.

To me, what makes a compelling heroine is a woman who is actively in pursuit of what she wants. Whether that is marriage or a career or a perfect cup of tea, that is what I want in my heroines. A woman who is active in her own life rather than acted upon. Wanting love and marriage does not make a woman weak any more than kicking ass and taking names makes her strong.

That is what I want in my friends, male and female, and in my own life: people who find what they want and they go for it.

And that is about as opinionated as I get. Carry on, and happy Monday.

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in which i offer an explanation

So I haven’t been great at blogging lately. And I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

The simple fact of the matter is that life has suddenly gotten busy. I have less than a month to go in Salt Lake, so I’m on overdrive at the Friend trying to get everything done before I go1. I also just finished my first round of revisions with my brand-new agent, which was wildly fun but sucked up a lot of my time. On top of that, I have to finish a first draft of my thesis by September 12. Which maybe doesn’t sound like that big of a deal…but it’s still got a long way to go, and all the words I have to spare will probably be going into that rather than into the blog.

So I don’t know how much I’ll be around for the next month. Four Book Friday will continue, because Four Book Friday is awesome3. When I return, there will be a end-of-summer GIVEAWAY4 and we will get back to business! I may be dropping by between now and then, so keep an eye out. Or subscribe. I’d love it if you would subscribe….

Until then, enjoy these picture from a steampunk convention that I attended with The MT and our friend Rose Tyler in hopes of gaining inspiration for my thesis, which is a steampunk novel. It ended up being one of the weirdest and most awesome things we’ve ever done….

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Also, we may or may not have been dressed like Doctor Who companions. And we may or may not have met the 4th and 7th Doctors…

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  1. If you want to see my stories, which are excellent, start looking around next May. That’s when my bylines will hopefully start popping up!
  2. This deadline is self-imposed…but it still needs to get done.
  3. And thanks everyone for your awesome feedback about it!
  4. Seriously, I mean it this time.
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