Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Five Things I've Learned Since Starting This Blog
Hi friends! It's been a while, but now I'm back and ready to transport you to the pastel times of our youth on a weekly basis! Since you last heard from me, quite a lot has happened. I finished grad school and moved to Seattle with my now fiance (!). I also have a new job -- I am going to be working as a literary agent at Martin Literary Management specializing in, what else but . . . children's books! As you can imagine, my excitement level about my new life situation is preeetttty high. I still can't believe I somehow managed to trade in my business suited, Redweld folder-filled, stress-bellied lawyer job for one where I get to do things like go see the One Direction movie "for research." Life is good. Extremely grateful.
To get me back into Tween at 28, I reread all of my previous posts. In doing so, I realized I have actually learned a lot from this experience rereading the books that meant so much to me as a kid. Because everybody loves lists (as Buzzfeed has proven), here are the top five things I learned writing this blog so far:
5. Should I find myself in a survive-in-the-wild situation, I most certainly would be dead inside of a week.
I've read several adventures of tween survivalists and the ones who fared the best in the wild were ones who had a toughness and a grit that are just way beyond me. I know that once faced with difficult circumstances, a person can unexpectedly rise to meet a challenge, but I just don't think I have the ability to beat a wolverine bloody with caribou antlers like Julie of the Wolves. Or swim in treacherous dead body water to retrieve a survival pack like Hatchet's Brian. Or tame a murderous wolf to be my pet like Karana on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. The lesson here? I need to avoid all potential get-left-alone-in-the-wilderness situations.
4. I owe the evolution of my personality to certain book heroines of my youth.
As a kid (and as an adult), the quality I respected most in my favorite heroines was gumption. Also known as spunk. Also known as moxie. When I was young, I really wanted to have gumption, spunk and/or moxie but I was a painfully shy child. I wanted so much to be like Ramona Quimby or Anne of Green Gables or Anastasia Krupnik or even Kristy Thomas from The Babysitters Club, that I pushed myself to be braver, more audible and free-spirited. Eventually, I think these qualities caught on and were less forced. Today, I would say I have gumption lite -- I'm still evolving!
3. Sometimes childhood books are better left un-reread.
I can't even tell you how many hours of my youth I spent reading The Boxcar Children, Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club books. I couldn't get enough! But wow, these books are pretty intolerable as an adult. Across the board, they now seem pretty silly, lack depth, have dumb plots or are just boring. Not quite as I remembered. And then there were those other books that ended up actually being so inappropriately racist (I'm look at you Pippi Longstocking and The Cricket in Times Square) or where the heroine is actually a psychopath by my adult estimation (Harriet the Spy). Sad realizations, but I guess the cost of doing Tween at 28 business.
2. But other times, rereading a childhood book is amazing.
Rereading these books was often a very transportive experience. I was taken back in time and thought about memories, thoughts and emotions I literally hadn't thought about in two decades-- quite amazing! I also thought it was wonderful when I could reaffirm the magic of a book like The Egypt Game when reading it as an adult, the books is still just so good. Or when I read a book that I didn't really care for as a kid, but as an adult, I see it in whole new, positive light and find it awesome--like Hatchet. For all of these books, the experience rereading them was deeply satisfying.
1. I'm marrying Encyclopedia Brown.
When I was about eight to ten, I had a crush on Encyclopedia Brown. Something about that fictional, sleuthing know-it-all really did it for me. I think I liked that he was smart, confident, was respected and got sh/t done. Which are just the reasons why I am attracted to my fiance. Could it be that Encyclopedia Brown established this paragon of a man that I've just spent my young adult life trying to find a man who live up to him? Or is it just those were qualities that I inherently appreciated, even as a child, and continued to appreciate them in my adulthood? Let's go with the latter because it seems less ridiculous. But if my fiance starts sleuthing, and I start getting hot and heavy--then we know the real answer.