Monday, November 30, 2009

Schizophrenic P


I am Black.

I am a woman.

I am a writer.

Yes, yes, I know. Astounding. Who knew, right?

Well, the problem, it seems like lately these three different traits are fracturing me more than they're melding. I've come to realize it because my social networking revolves a great deal around them.

I have sites/forums and circles of friends I frequent because I'm a children's author. Others where the point is I'm a Black children's authors. Others because I'm a female author.

It's all very...headspinning.

Diana Peterfreund and I, made a bet, that we could go 14 days with only being on the 'net for 90 minutes daily. Today, I popped onto Twitter and found that some of my other peers are taking a total hiatus from Twitter until January. And it's sounding like a damned good idea. If nothing, it'll give me time to pull myself back together so I'm just P again. Not P, the Black, YA author chick.

Social networking is great, but it also leads to a bit of over exposure to social circles that, while has plenty positives, has one really huge negative: it's too fracking distracting!

I'm starting to ponder how I ended up to my eyeballs in nings, blogs, forums, chats and tweets.

I love the socializing but I'm also feeling more than a little schizzy, right now trying to keep up with all these different outlets that represent the many facets of myself.

I've not yet dedicated myself to a hiatus but if you don't hear from me, you'll know what I decided.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Time To Read

I know Stephen King says that serious writers should read four hours a day, but I'm venturing a guess here - the serious writers he's talking about are either:

NOT mothers.

- or-

DON'T have full-time jobs

Since I am and do, the luxury of reading time comes down to this - sleep or read. And funny thing, I usually choose sleeping. However, I did give up two solid nights to finish King's latest tome du jour, Under the Dome. Uncle Stevie, you're welcome.

Anyway, these days my reading is done in mad obsessive spurts. One, because if I take too long it won't get finished, two, it's a kind of escape and three, were I to read every day like that, I'd be horribly sleep deprived.

My lack of time to read more doesn't mean I don't have a whole slew of books I'm eyeing to put on the list. So, as the year comes to a slow wind I'm looking to beef up my reading over the holidays and beyond.

Suggestions for my TBR list are welcome.

Looking for Adult and YA.

When it comes to my adult lit, I like thrillers, suspense and true crime novels. Non-fiction, in general, doesn't really interest me. That's what good TV docus are for, in my opinion.

And girlfriend and Chick lit don't interest me as much because it's too close to the type of YA I write. So reading them feels like work research or something. I over analyze!

For YA I'm a bit more open to whatever's good. Be it a Scott Westerfeld fantasy or a Sara Zarr-type novel, I'm down if you say it's good (and mean it!). Not looking for anyone to pimp a book to me. If you sincerely liked it, suggest it. I'll be highly pissed if I read something that ends up being a waste of my time just because someone wants to hype a friend's novel.

Don't do it!

Otherwise, I'm a pretty easy person to please.

Whaddya reading and will I like it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another nail in the coffin...

I've been longing for innocence, lately. In a way, I think that's why I'm a writer anyway. Specifically a YA writer.

I'm sure the average teen would hardly consider themselves "innocent." After all, many are quite worldly. But you never realize how innocent you are until you realize you aren't anymore.

As a kid it didn't matter to me that the stories I loved so much didn't have one Brown face in them. Didn't matter a whit. I escaped into them, saw myself in their place. It didn't matter how they looked, what they went through I was going through with them.

But now, as an adult I'm constantly offended by the lack of diversity in mainstream anything - TV, film, books, anything. Because the lack of color makes me feel invisible in a way that I never ever felt when reading or watching TV as a kid.

So it's with great joy and, yes, some amount of frustration that I await Disney's, The Princess and the Frog.

Joy because it's about time.

And frustration because, what the hell took so long?!

Disney has Jasmine (Arabian), Mulan (Asian), Pocohontas (American Indian) and Ariel (Mermaid...oh, that's not a race, is it?). So where has the Black princess been all these years? Where?!

Should it matter anymore? Let's pretend it doesn't for a second because I'd rather focus on the fact that my daughters will see a Disney movie that depicts them as the princess. It's especially important for my five year old because, she's just now starting to distinguish race, a practice that can be somewhat embarrassing when she calls out in the store, Mommy, that white woman...


But cut her some slack. She's just trying to put the whole different shades thing into context. And in our house context is, race doesn't matter. Something I can say til I'm blue in the face, but it doesn't mean much if things outside our home don't reinforce it.

So this Disney movie means more than some may know.

Althought, let me be clear, my daughters already think they're princesses. We have an oddly significant amount of tiara's in the house because they buy them every chance they get. And I guess it doesn't help that my husband and I treat them like they're royalty sometimes (lazy, spoiled kids).

But still, that's as it should be with any parent/child. We want them to feel special.

The problem lies in the reality they're faced when images reflected back to them from TV and magazines tells them - Oh you're beautiful to your parents but this is what AMERICA deems beautiful. This, right here and it ain't you.

So I wish great box office success for The Princess and the Frog.

So ONCE more we can squash the myth that black folk don't go see movies AND that white folk won't go see a movie with a black protagonist.

The more nails we can put in those coffins the better.

Check out the trailer here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Is Greatness Overrated?

I was an A and B student, in school. A's in subjects I really liked (English) and B's in pretty much everything else. I could pull a B with minimal studying and a C without studying (mostly). My mother would always say, "If you truly applied yourself you could be a Straight A student."

And my thought was always: Why, when I can get good grades without overexerting myself?

I've never had a problem with the fact that I'm really good at a lot of stuff but perhaps not great at anything.

Now, with kids of my own, I definitely see why my mom was frustrated with my nonchalance, but I still don't regret my outlook.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating slacking. Quite the opposite. I don't think the word slacker ever defined me, nor would it apply now. I approach near everything I do with ferocity but I also enjoy things 100% while I'm doing them, so I never feel like I need to be immersed in it 24-7.

It's been proven that those who achieve greatness often do so by the sheer volume of time they spend doing whatever they're great at.

Me, I'm a huge fan of being well-rounded and to be so, you sort of sacrifice the pinnacle of greatness for goodness. I'd love to be a great writer instead of a really good one, but literally the only thing I could sacrifice to write more is sleep or time with my family.

Call me crazy, but I sort of need sleep and I really like my family, they're kind of fun to be around. I feel like this approach I've always had has prepared me for juggling writing along with a full-time job and an active family.

Writing is addictive and I could very easily let it take over my life. Very easily.

I have incredibly manic phases where all I want to do is write. I give in to them, but not nearly at the level I'd like to. I'm afraid if I do, I'll emerge from the office and my kids will be grown and my husband off with another woman. I mean, the mania gets that bad.

Thank goodness, I know how to control it. Years of being satisfied with goodness has taught me how.

And I've passed that trait down to my kids.

In my oldest, I see myself. She can get good grades with minimal effort and as much as she loves anything (her friends, cheerleading etc...) she always reaches a point where it's like - Okay, enough of that for right now.

Some might see our quest for a little taste of it all as fickleness. But I don't see it that way.

It's more like living in the moment and cherishing experiences rather than letting any one thing define us.

I see the pros and cons of our mentality. But I'm totally at peace with being like this. After all, I am the goodest! Ask anybody.