Falling in Love is Hard to Do

Sometimes the hardest thing in the world to be is wrong. I'd say it's my biggest personal fear if I didn't have so much love for my husband and sons stretching out my heart every day (yes, even those days when pulling out my hair is barely--barely--second to the heart-stretch).

But, yeah, being wrong, it goes against my grain like nobody's business, so much so that one of my great defense mechs is to simply refuse to make a choice when options are presented to me. So, you see, I'd rather be paralyzed and miserable than wrong.

Part of this stems from being an incredibly independent kid/teen. Survival in my younger years kind of required an ability to rely on just myself. Another part of it is my appearance; I'm small (thank you Granny J.), and I don't fit the physical mold for an intelligent female. Most people see me and think I must be an airhead because of my build. If they looked again, they'd see the humongous chip on my shoulder, because I am smart. Not genius-level or anything, but sharp all the same, and I take an unseemly amount of pride in my intelligence.

Anyway, like anyone else, I have my weaknesses, and that brings us back to "wrong" and what that has to do with my last year. You know, that year in which I tried and tried to better my first novel* but rather kept smacking into brick walls? That wall taunted "wrong" from all over, in all kinds of colors and fonts graffitied on it like BAD WOLF in the 2006 series of Doctor Who.

"Don't ramble with so much detail!", it criticized. "You can't do First Person, Present point-of-view!" "You have to pace your book like this, or no one will like it."  "Your word count has to fall in this range!" "These are the rules and you're not good enough to break them."


Even with all the amazing encouragement from writer friends, critique partners, betas, and others, the WRONG was always louder, and it kicked my butt. I couldn't kick back. It was totally winning. In fact, it just about had me beaten down enough to just give up. No amount of faith in my abilities (from others) helped.

So, on the verge of giving up (oh, who am I kidding? I had given up, I just hadn't actually told anybody else, yet), I checked out a bunch of books from my library and proceeded to ignore my own book as much as humanly possible.

One of these books was Chime by Franny Billingsley. It blew my mind. I loved it. I loved it even though it broke a lot of rules. Billingsley wrote in in First Person, Present POV. It had a lot of detail. It didn't follow the traditional path. The twists were GREAT. The language was amazing and gorgeous. I wasn't just admiring of this book, I was JEALOUS. This was the kind of style in which I wanted to write. I didn't want a stupid, helpless heroine, or a perfect love interest. I wanted THIS.

But all the experts had said it was wrong. Wrong, my nemesis, and I couldn't risk wrong.

Suddenly, I didn't care. I loved Chime enough to forget it was technically all wrong, and if I could love someone else's "wrong" book that much, I could love my own book--broken rules and all--even more. I didn't have to be afraid of being wrong, because I knew I could love it anyway, because of Chime.

And I do love it. I love it like a Mathlete loves Pi. I love how easy it feels, now. I'm not wrestling with it because I'm not trying to change it into something it isn't.

Good Gracious, if this is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

*Yes, I'm still on my first novel. Another thing I am in spades? Stubborn.

PERSONAL NOTE: My lips go numb for about a half-hour if I take my anti-depression meds with coffee. Not Novocaine-at-the-dentist's numb, but very tingly. I love my meds and my coffee, so my lips are numb most mornings. *wink*