I taught two Nia classes today, ran a few errands, and managed to get an exciting new project out to a fabulous list of prospective editors. What I didn’t do was write a fabulous blog post, and since I’ve already fallen down on the job once this week, I can’t let another day go by without putting something up here.
So, in the spirit of letting other people do my work for me, a couple of links.
Now, I was not a happy teenager. In fact, I was a deeply unhappy teenager. And though my problems were minuscule compared to what gay teenagers face, they were still problems. Real, legitimate problems. And the ONE PIECE OF ADVICE that made a difference was when an adult who was not one of my parents** took the time to pull me aside and told me those exact same words:
It gets better.
She told me a story about a girl she knew who was a lot like me, who felt no connection with her peers, who was miserable in high school, and how the MOMENT she left . . . her life got better.
I never forgot it. Those words pulled me through some incredibly difficult years. And you know what? That adult was right. The moment I was out of high school—the day after graduation!—I was a happier person.
“It gets better” is a message I want to shout from the rooftops.
I’m not a psychologist or an anthropologist or even a cultural historian (though I play one on a blog), but I am a former twelve-year-old, and I can remember how thrilling it was to read books where the kids were off on their own, fighting and outsmarting adults, dealing with harsh landscapes, facing their deepest fears, making unforgettable friendships, and, while I didn’t know it at the time, learning how to be adults.
Around the age the books in this list are so appealing, we’re starting to imagine life without our parents, we’re starting to develop our own opinions and thoughts, and we’re starting to realize that our parents are not always right about everything (eventually we’ll learn that they were right about more than we realized at the time).
Dead parents, I would argue, are an externalization of this nascent independence. We’re starting to imagine life on our own and love to read about kids who have been suddenly thrust into that position. A tradition this common cannot be accidental.
Well worth the full read.
Moving on, Jennifer Weiner adds another fabulous post to the girls vs boys books debate, a debate she helped raise to mass consciousness with her franzenfreude tag on Twitter. Do read the whole thing, and pay special attention to the Stephen King quote:
Tokenism is not allowed. You can’t sit back, give a self satisfied sigh and say, “Ah, that takes care of the troublesome pop lit question. In another twenty years or perhaps thirty, we’ll give this award to another writer who sells enough books to make the best seller lists.” It’s not good enough. Nor do I have any patience with or use for those who make a point of pride in saying they’ve never read anything by John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Mary Higgins Clark or any other popular writer.
And in Weiner’s own words:
“when the paper of record tells its readers, through silence and omission, that some stories, some writers, some readers matter more than others and some stories, some writers, some readers, don’t matter at all, then yes, I’ve got a problem with that.”
Finally, something a little lighter for your Thursday evening. If you weren’t in NYC at Symphony Space this evening, you missed an impassioned debate between supporters of Zombies and Unicorns. For a taste (though I expect pictures if not videos from the event itself), do check out Simon & Schuster’s video trailer for the anthology.
What exciting things have YOU seen on the internets lately?