normal person:watches a movie, likes it a lot, the end
me:watches a movie, likes it a lot, becomes obsessed with it, falls madly in love with at least one character in it, makes artwork and writes fan fiction based off of it, devotes countless hours to blogging, talking, and flailing about it, cries and rolls around on the floor at least once per day because of how much I love it, dies of emotional reaction to it, the end.
teacher:the red paints a depiction of anger, the boy finally biting into his anger and letting it unleash all the while his innocence is being violated by the teeth of despair and the endless throat that is life and being boiled by the stomach acid of unstoppable death
“A tall boy, a fairly handsome young man. Not much different from any young man you might see in any town.” She paused to draw a breath.
“Moraine, he blazed like the sun! I’ve seldom been afraid in my life, but the sight of him made me afraid right down to my toes. I wanted to cover, to howl.
I could barely speak.”—
When I do book signings, most of my line is made up of young girls with their mothers, teen girls alone, and mother friend groups. But there’s usually at least one boy with a stack of my books. This boy is anywhere from 8-19, he’s carrying a worn stack of the Books of Bayern, and he’s excited and unashamed to be a fan of those books. As I talk to him, 95% of the time I learn this fact: he is home schooled.
There’s something that happens to our boys in school. Maybe it’s because they’re around so many other boys, and the pressure to be a boy is high. They’re looking around at each other, trying to figure out what it means to be a boy—and often their conclusion is to be “not a girl.” Whatever a girl is, they must be the opposite. So a book written by a girl? With a girl on the cover? Not something a boy should be caught reading.
But something else happens in school too. Without even meaning to perhaps, the adults in the boy’s life are nudging the boy away from “girl” books to “boy” books. When I go on tour and do school visits, sometimes the school will take the girls out of class for my assembly and not invite the boys. I talk about reading and how to fall in love with reading. I talk about storytelling and how to start your own story. I talk about things that aren’t gender-exclusive. But because I’m a girl and there are girls on my covers, often I’m deemed a girl-only author. I wonder, when a boy author goes to those schools with their books with boys on the covers, are the girls left behind? I want to question this practice. Even if no boy ever really would like one of my books, by not inviting them, we’re reinforcing the wrong and often-damaging notion that there’s girls-only stuff and you aren’t allowed to like it.
I hear from teachers that when they read Princess Academy in class (by far the most girlie-sounding of all my books) that the boys initially protest but in the end like it as much as the girls, or as one teacher told me recently, “the boys were even bigger fans than the girls.”
Another staple in my signing line is the family. The mom and daughters get their books signed, and the mom confides in me, “My son reads your books on the sly” or “My son loves your books too but he’s embarrassed to admit it.” Why are they embarrassed? Because we’ve made them that way. We’ve told them in subtle ways that, in order to be a real boy, to be manly, they can’t like anything girls like.
Though sometimes those instructions aren’t subtle at all. Recently at a signing, a family had all my books. The mom had me sign one of them for each of her children. A 10-year-old boy lurked in the back. I’d signed some for all the daughters and there were more books, so I asked the boy, “Would you like me to sign one to you?” The mom said, “Yeah, Isaac, do you want her to put your name in a girl book?” and the sisters all giggled.
Writers are forgetful, but they remember everything. They forget appointments and anniversaries, but remember what you wore, how you smelled, on your first date… They remember every story you’ve ever told them - like ever, but forget what you’ve just said. They don’t remember to water the plants or take out the trash, but they don’t forget how to make you laugh.
Writers are forgetful because they’re busy remembering the important things.
“Cons are about warmth. You go to a con to enter an alternate universe where status is expertise on a book or a movie or a TV show, where the nerd habits of collecting and cataloging and rating are normal and esteemed.”— Benjamin Nugent, American Nerd. (via cydwongreading)
“As far as I can tell what happens when a reader loves a book isn’t actually a wondrous explosion of literary greatness, an inevitable consequence of that book’s inherent value, it’s a complicated combination of all sorts of circumstances: like who the reader is, where they are in their lives, what else they’ve read, what mood they’re in at the exact moment when they pick up the book, whether they’re drunk or sober, what sorts of bullshit they will or won’t put up with (and all novels contain a certain amount of bullshit), whether the author photo looks like their ex-girl/boyfriend, etc. etc.”—Lev Grossman, I Hate This Book So Much: A Meditation | Entertainment | TIME.com (via housingworksbookstore)
Seriously though, why doesn’t Merida use an elastic or something? Because that hair would drive me insane. Like, is it just full of leaves and twigs? Do her bows get caught in it? I want to introduce her to pony tails.