Colder weather often feels more inviting to me than warmer weather. Summer--usually overstimulating. A summer day really throws itself at you. Winter--you're in your coat, the colors in the trees are softer--so much friendlier. Things I'm enjoying the most this
winter: complex soup recipes with entirely too many steps (really though, if you don't toast the barley before you cook it, the flavor will suffer), cozy loungewear, and, um, I've finally finished and sent in the manuscript for my fourth book!
And I didn't realize how hard it was until it was over. The project never really deviated from outline. I always worked during my scheduled times during the day. And, as I always do, I named it after a particular Taylor Swift song, the one that seemed the most fitting (don't ask why, I don't know why I do this). There's a deserted fairground in a swamp. A rooster named Elvis. And the former cheerleader whose life fell apart when, you know, insert background material here. A predictable writing journey, right? However! It turns out writing about high school-era trauma, even for a main character who's nothing like me, is shockingly taxing, even in the not-real-world context of a gothic sort-of murder story. I have loads of admiration for YA authors, for many reasons, but this one especially. Doesn't it feel like writing about teens (or any young people, really) is taking on a responsibility a little beyond that of adult fiction? Of course it is--obvious reasons. I'm particularly annoyed with adults in general today because of the "Can Opener Dad" video. No, children don't need adversity to build character. I'm so thoroughly exhausted of all things that smack even a little bit of the bootstraps mentality. And to think I intended the protagonist in my new book to be straightforward and predictable. She's wielding her unacknowledged anger like a weapon, which, I guess, it can be.
It's been said before, but if your parents hit you, or did shitty things like make you wait six hours to eat because they wouldn't open a can for you, or failed to respect you as a child and you think you turned out fine, you did not in fact turn out fine. What kind of parent (or adult of any sort, for that matter) goes out of their way to teach a child, who cannot protect themselves, that you cannot rely on others for, like, sustenance? Help your kids learn stuff. Parents, that's our job. Done for now!
We're all going to bundle up and go for a long walk in the woods, and then make some barley soup and crusty bread. 2021 WON'T BE ANY BETTER UNLESS WE DISMANTLE THE HARMFUL SYSTEMS THAT MADE 2020 WHAT IT WAS. Happy New Year!