Saturday, October 6, 2012

Realistic Fiction Kind of Gal

I've tried a lot of different genres in my time, but I always come back to realistic fiction.  For me, it's about the intimacy of getting to know the characters: their thoughts and deliberations; their concerns and life lessons.  I don't need action.  I don't need intrigue.  Heck, I don't even need sex.  (Though it doesn't hurt.)

Through my reading (and viewing), I want to meet people who twig something within me and who lead me down their paths so I can find mine a bit more clearly.  Sure, I can get great character development from a fantasy novel or even a horror story, but when push comes to shove, I prefer my characters in realistic settings doing the everyday, mundane, workaday things I am doing too.  I want to see how they do it, what they're thinking and where it takes them.

I remember first falling in love with Anne of Green Gables in around 5th grade.  Though Anne was always in a fantasy world, she was a real-live girl (at least she seemed like it) just a little older than I was, dealing with the same insecurities as I, only in a slightly different era and with Marilla and Matthew and Diana and Gilbert in PEI as the backdrop  not my Mennonite, farming family in Greendale.

Since I first read Lucy Maud Montgomery, her flouncy prose notwithstanding, I have always looked for books with strong female leads who forge their ways through life successfully or not, but who look and act a bit like me and who give me hope that I can get through my days with some measure of grace, good looks and gratitude.

Tonight we watched Star Wars as a family for the first time, and while my children were entranced, I have to admit that it left me cold, just like it did the first and subsequent times.  Though I share the same name as the  princess  and I understand the metaphors and archetypes of this classic tale, I like my life martinis straight up, not with added ingredients and dimensions.  It just seems unnecessary for this simple brain of mine.  Give me the straight goods.

Of course, you're reading the blog of a woman who loves celebrity gossip magazines and is a voyeur on facebook the same way she is on the Perez Hilton website.  I want to know all about people and the minutae of their lives: their foibles and mess-ups and mistakes and bad fashion moments and, yes, even what they ate for dinner. I do not, however, want to hear about some android cocktail that is blue and electrified and has magical properties.

Our eldest daughter, Charlotte, has been an advanced reader for some years now, but she has not been a lover of reading until quite recently.  It was just about a month ago that she came to me and said, (just after we had just finished reading Anne of Green Gables together), "Mommy, are there more books like that one?  Those are the kinds of books I like.  Books about girls like me."

Mr. Blue, theschool librarian (and then some), wisely got Charlotte started on the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, despite their 40 year-ago publication dates.  She's been over-the-moon ever since and can't stop reading.  Though she's perfectly capable of reading Harry Potter, she doesn't really want to and I've assured her she doesn't need to feel guilty about that.  I am so pleased she is establishing her reading preferences early, and while we will continue to expose her to multitudes of books, I believe she's going to be a realistic fiction fan, just like her momma.

In fact, we have both started writing our own books and sometimes, in the evening, we sit side by side, tapping on our computers.  She'll ask me how my dialogue is going and I'll give her examples of how to show more and tell less and teach her about my passion for semi colons.  Really!

While my novel is perhaps a bit more risque than hers, she is doing a commendable job for an eight year old.  She has voice and spirit and she is telling the stories of other girls who have the same.

Storytelling.  It's what makes the world go round.  It's what campfires and the Guttenburg press and the Amazon Kindle and standup comedy were created for.

My ongoing new start for my own life is to tell it like it is.  People want to hear it.  I'm getting in the range of 10,000 hits on this blog just by telling it the way it is.  My fiction is still filled with my stories, elaborated on and embellished and lacquered (or liquored) up, but they are still mostly my stories.  I'm proud of that.

We are born to tell stories.  People learn through stories.  Stories are a vehicle through which people can disover places, people, themselves.  Stories unite us and help us to find our common and uncommon ground.

While I'm sure the money is in erotica, I still want to read and write about the quirky (not kinky) gals who struggle and get some of what they want and some of what they don't and they just kind of get on with things.  I'm not looking for a fairy tale or even a happy ending, just happy moments to seed the soil with.

Emily enjoying chic-lit!

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