Saturday, September 15, 2012

Outside the Lines (Cheryl Renée Herbsman)

I remember being a young teen and wanting desperately to be part of the popular clique, believing that being in any other clique was only for those who failed at entering the popular one. It wasn't until I "succeeded" and later dropped out of the coveted clique that I started to notice that the kids who banded together on the fringes were actually pretty awesome. As I began to identify as someone on the fringes, I came to realize how much more space that identity opened for accepting all of who I was. And I came to cherish the outsiders and their fringiness and the worlds that opened to me.

Even in my adult life, "my people" are fringy. And sometimes I think marking ourselves as such gives us the reassurance we need to continue discovering who we really are, gives us permission to step outside the lines -- like the bloggers here. We identify as YA Outside the Lines. What makes us outside the lines? Who decides? In this case, we do. We're taking a stand, choosing the freedom to not be bound.

And really, isn't that what our characters are doing? Trying to figure out who they are, trying to learn to accept themselves as they are -- whether they feel separate because of their social status or their socioeconomic status or their health or their appearance or their skills or lack thereof or any one of a million other reasons. Just like us, our characters are looking to grow and be free and, at least in my mind, that growth and freedom most often happens on the fringes -- out here with us, outside the lines.

8 comments:

  1. Cheryl, So excited to see you on here! (I just joined) I read your novel Breathing a few years ago and it stayed with me. Beautiful book. I may have to read it again!

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    1. Aww, thank, Jody! Welcome! And thank you for the kind words. They mean a lot :D

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  2. I wonder if writing necessitates a sort of "fringe" mentality, as we play the role of observer, recorder, commentator: standing in the shadows.

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  3. I was born outside the lines. (My fave t.v. show is FRINGE.) My characters are WAY outside. That's what makes them interesting. They're not perfect. That's what makes them human. They're quirky, several standard deviations off the norm. They're trying to invent themselves. They're trying to understand the world. They're searching for something they can't quite name.

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  4. " It wasn't until I "succeeded" and later dropped out of the coveted clique that I started to notice that the kids who banded together on the fringes were actually pretty awesome."

    Sounds like the makings of a book to me!

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