Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Is This Taking So Long? (Sydney Salter)

Oh, how I wish I could learn life's lessons in 350 pages--like my characters.

What Jory (My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters) learns about accepting her appearance at the fictional age of 17, took me, oh, about 20 more years to figure out. I finally realized that 80-year-old me will think that 40-year-old me looks pretty great. Just like 40-ish me burst into tears upon finding an old high school photo. Why did I worry so much about my nose?!?!? What a waste of time, not to mention emotional energy.

Living in a multi-generational household hasn't been as easy--or funny--for me as it is for Polly (Swoon At Your Own Risk). Plus, I'm still figuring out things with my own father, well, maybe she is too. And I still worry too much like Kat in Jungle Crossing. Just this morning I spun my daughter's missing biology assignment into her future Netflix-watching, muddy-buddy-making slacker life in my basement--much to her eye-rolling annoyance.

Turning points, life lessons, those Oprah-esque "Aha!" moments take me decades, not months or even years to learn.

That's one reason I love to write YA--maybe my hard-earned lessons can help someone else take a short-cut. Letters from readers who tell me my books helped change their perspective or deal with a problem fill me with so much joy.

Because I'm still writing my own life story, one day at a time, lessons learned too slow, too often, beginning again and again and again.



4 comments:

  1. Oh, I know what you mean! In my next book, the MC's turning point and emotional growth (at the age of 17) mirrors the real-life insights of my mid- or late 20s. And like you said, I hope the book can lead others more quickly to the shortcut I wish I'd known about.

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  2. Hear, hear! If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have done so many things differently. (Of course, I'd have just made lots of new and different mistakes then!)

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  3. So true! Growth is a long, slow, painful process for me. I've gotten good at one thing, though. Laughing at myself.

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  4. I totally agree with Lauren--the best lesson I've learned along the way is to have a sense of humor about myself...

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