Living Your Five is an amazing initiative I stumbled across today thanks to Alyson Noël, whose Immortals series is keeping me very entertained at the moment.
In a nutshell, "Living Your Five is about making the world a better place, one person at a time. It's about understanding what you care about most and how you can make a positive difference in the world."
I think this is a fabulous idea, and I'm writing out my list as soon as I've finished the post. (You can expect it to be up in the next day or two.)
What are the five most important things to you?
How can use those five things to change yourself, or the world?
Sarah Rees Brennan posted a very interesting essay about how female characters are represented and perceived in literature. I'm not sure I agree with all of the points, but she makes some very fine ones.
As summer shows come to an end, I've started thinking about what keeps me coming back for more, and what keeps me thinking about characters long after the shows have gone on hiatus or ended. But, most importantly, I'm wondering what allows me to let them go.
Or, in book terms (since this is a writing-related blog), what is it about Cathy and Heathcliff or Atticus Finch that makes them so memorable, but doesn't have me clamoring for TO KILL ANOTHER MOCKINGBIRD or RETURN TO WUTHERING HEIGHTS?
...Wait, you mean someone actually had the nerve to write a sequel to Brontë's masterpiece? *vom*
What I'm talking about is a truly incomparable literary moment, a figure we can't shake no matter how hard we try, but for whom we are never left wanting. Those are the types of characters, and stories, I aspire to create — their authors the ones I aspire to emulate.
I was thinking about that oft-confusing adage recently while perusing the Emmy award nominees list, which got me thinking about all awards, which got me thinking about publishing...and here I am.
How did I connect the two? Well, it was a very complicated train of thought, but here's the gist:
We all want to win awards and become famous and find fortune, but we want to achieve all that while doing whatever we want. I believe we call it "expressing ourselves."
But, there are certain genres, certain styles, certain concepts that are award-winning material (or have mass appeal, or make tons of money), and those that aren't (and never will). For the Oscars it's gain-thirty-pounds-and-sob-on-camera performances and make-the-audience-think-while-depressing-them-to-the-point-of-needing-a-therapist storylines, mostly. And no matter how beloved the "Ocean's" movies and Brad Pitt's Rusty were, they were never going to win Oscars.
Does that mean Soderbergh should have turned the projects down? That Angie should have threatened to leave Brad if he reprised his role for the nth time? Yeah, right.
My point is: why do authors (and creative types of all kinds) so often feel the urge to complain when their "thing" isn't given its due credit? Like short story authors who complain that they're just under-appreciated, or YA authors who bemoan the negative stereotypes that accompany the genre.
To those authors, and to comedians and indie rock bands, I say this: you can either do what you love and roll with it. Or you can do what is loved and be awarded.
Have your cake, or eat it, people. You can't do both. There's no sense in arguing with physics, and I really don't want to hear you try.
PS - Yes, I fully intend to ignore the fact that my last post was almost three months ago. Except for this post script, which is acknowledging it...