Labels can be useful.
Is this parsley? Or is it thyme?
Is this a middle school? Or is it a high school?
Labels can also be useless or, worse, counterproductive.
Is he a nerd? A geek? A poser?
Is he a future success story? Or a failure waiting to happen?
As a writer, I’m struggling with labels right now. Is my first novel, The Monster’s Daughter, YA? Or is it horror? I’d put it squarely into the category “YA horror,” no matter how I envision it as a coming of age tale, but the categories available don’t allow me this designation.
I’m left to choose between “Teen: monsters” or “Horror.” I personally feel the latter fits somewhat better, but it also makes my novel virtually invisible in searches. The former doesn’t fit quite as well but opens my book to a much wider audience. Read more…
It’s little wonder I grew up wanting to be a superhero.
From the time I was little, the woman I most admired deemed herself “Thunder Thighs,” with the power to destroy villains by such seemingly innocuous things as body odor and thigh-ripple shock waves.
I don’t remember all of her powers or all the villains she coaxed back toward goodness, but I do remember my giggles. I remember how, in these moments, the world was only mirth and closeness to the funniest, silliest, smartest, prettiest mom in the whole wide world.
Thunder Thighs has retired now, but her cape is stretched forever across my proverbial heart.
I’ve been thinking of her a lot these days. I’d like to be worthy of wearing her cape.
There’s only one way to earn it. It’s not by being skinny enough, tall enough, eloquent enough, smart enough or bestselling enough. Not even a little.
I’ll earn that cape by making my son laugh from deep in his belly, and by showing him there is no sweeter music to me than the sound of that laugh. By making him forget the rest of the world exists, for a few moments, and letting him know that the rest of the world has ceased to exist for me, too. By letting him know I am not near him, but with him.
Thanks to The Hands Free Revolution, I’m getting in touch with my inner Thunder Thighs. I’m looking at my cell phone and wondering, “Would Thunder Thighs read that email, or would she swoop up her child and take him for an impromptu airplaine ride instead?”
I know what she would do. She might not have been the most practical of superheroes, but she was the most loving.
I have a choice. Every time my phone beeps, it’s beeping a choice. I choose my son. I choose my family.
I choose to do my best to be remembered by my son as I remember Thunder Thighs.
I will be worthy of that cape.
© 2012 Deborah Bryan. All rights reserved.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.
After two more rounds of copy editing, one of which was (pleasingly!) a little more content than copy, TMD’s first edition will soon be replaced by a more sparkly second edition. FYI, that’s not Edward-style “sparkly.” You’ll find none of that in any edition of any book involving Ginny!
The second edition will be printed on cream paper. Digitally, it’s already formatted for Smashwords and was uploaded this morning. It was roughly 1,458,892,058th in queue for uploading at 6 a.m. I imagine a few digits have been knocked off of that since! I’ll update my TMD page to include that link after it’s available. A few weeks after that, it’ll be available on the iStore and elsewhere.
On a totally unrelated note, I feel really good this morning. Up until I paid off my car last Monday, I’ve been prone to vegan fails. (Mmmm, cheese.) Those vegan fails left my mouth satisfied but my conscience very much dissatisfied.
When I paid off my car, I decided that was a perfect opportunity to live in better accord with my convictions. That payoff, after all, was made possible by my mom’s final gift to me. Her life was rough. Her choices made me able to take a much smoother path. Given all the choices I have, I feel like it’s important to honor my mom by making–not just contemplating–the right choices for me. This means eating vegan unless there’s an absolutely compelling reason (such as imminent death) for my doing otherwise.
It feels really freakin’ good. My body feels good. My heart feels good. This was the right choice, absolutely, and I’m glad I now have the conviction to see it through.
I’m not preaching veganism here, although it’s true I do feel healthier when I’m eating vegan. I’m just saying it feels really good to live in accord with my beliefs. Who’d have thought instant gratification could be so fleeting by comparison to this more lasting gratification? Since I tend to be slow on the uptake, I’m guessing you beat me to the punch on this one, probably by a decade or two.
Was there a moment or an encounter that helped you to understand that instant gratification is as fleeting as it is instantaneous? If so, I’d love to hear about it! If you’re still struggling, I’d love to hear about that, too, either in comment or via email.