Friday, May 05, 2006

Some things you just shouldn't say out loud

OK, feeling kind of stupid here.

A few days ago I posted about being asked if I wrote children's books. And how I get asked that SO much that it's starting to get disconcerting.

I got a comment from "J", apologizing for asking me that and that it was just because it just seemed like I'd be a natural for it.

"J", thanks for the compliment and I hope to God I didn't offend you! I hope that any of you out there writing children's books don't think that I think that it's easy. I can't imagine writing them because I think it would be so HARD. I can put myself in the shoes of my heroine. I don't think I could do that with a young adult book and honestly I've never even considered younger books than that. But I would hate to think that I'm guilty of looking "down" on any genre, especially since I'm so sensitive about the romance genre stereotype. EVERY writer has a niche where they belong.

I've thought about this a lot and have come up with a few conclusions (I'll try to be brief).

Number one, even though your blog is meant to be an online "Journal", you should still self edit. And included in that is that I was looking at this as a whole and used that day's event as an example. I don't dislike this woman or anyone who's asked me that question. I think after a while I just starting thinking, "why?" What is it about me that gives that impression? And conversely, why is it so surprising that I write romance instead?

Which brings me to number two and the part that makes sense. Most of the women I see/know are moms of kids of approximately the same age. Not only that but some know me through my working with young kids at church and also in my job. I doubt that a year ago I would have been asked this question so much. But now I'm working in the school. So most of the people I know there see me working with kids every day. And I do love my job and I do love working with the kids. So by extension, it probably *does* seem natural to them that I would be writing children's books.
I mean look at the new position I'm starting. In KINDERGARTEN! And I've gotten so much support from everyone at the school, and opportunities have opened up for me so I must have good instincts. So it makes sense in that context, a lot of sense.

Number three: Irony. Ironically, because so much of my life is tied up in children, that's probably why I'm so sensitive about it. When I started writing - seriously writing - it was because I was a SAHM with issues. I needed a purpose. I felt my whole identity was wrapped up in my kids and I really needed something of my own. Something separate and just "Donna's". And so this year, with still doing the mom thing AND working with kids during the day, I think I'm oversensitive to it. Like I need to reassure myself...that there still is a part of me that is separate, and important, and mine. It doesn't mean I don't love all the other aspects. I wouldn't trade staying home with my kids for ANYTHING.

And number four - hormones. EVERYTHING irritated me that day. Including my husband who, when I asked him to put his cereal bowl in the sink and he put it on the counter and I put it in the sink for him, simply backed away and said, "O-K."

"J", I could NEVER be mad at you. So take what I said with a grain of salt, OK? Smooches.

Donna

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:55 PM

    No apology necessary, you'll always be one of my favourites (wink)

    J

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  2. Great insight, Donna. I don't think you were looking down on another genre either. You never said it was easy to write children's books. And I think most writers are the victims of assumptions. And we're often times even guilty of making our own.

    A member of my writer's group recently met a minister's wife who writes romances. So, she asked the wife, "Oh, do you write inspirationals?" "No," was the clipped reply. Apparently they're very hot erotics. Whoops, who knew?

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