Thursday, March 23, 2006

Friends and the library

Hello, my name is Alison and I blog too much. I’ve long said that writing begets writing, and now I see that blogging begets blogging. The more I blog, the more aware I become of more things to blog about. And you’re stuck with the result.

Anyway, I went to the library tonight, with my laptop. I freaked out a little because the YA section of this library says, "This section is for teens only after school & on weekends." Uhh...does that mean no aspiring YA writer with a regular day job can check out a YA book?!!? I don’t have a day job, so I can work around this, but it doesn't seem fair. And will they bar me in the summer? I snuck in anyway, furtively, and grabbed a copy of the Newbery winner, Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins. I thought Newberys were nearly always midgrade. Odd.

I rarely get books from the adult section, but today I got 3, all with sub-titles:
  • My So-Called Digital Life: 2,000 Teenagers, 300 Cameras, and 30 Days to Document Their World (obviously for my YA research!)

  • Sudden Fiction (Continued): 60 New Short-Short Stories (I have the first Sudden Fiction anthology & thought these would be quick reads & expand my fiction horizons a little)

  • Connecting: The Enduring Power of Female Friendships
That last choice is an odd one for me, especially since I don’t particularly have any close female friendships at the moment, but I’m just curious about the nature of friendship (female or otherwise), and wanted to research it for my YA. It seems to me that friendship--in particular, how we choose our friends and whom we develop rapport with--involves a kind of chemistry not completely unlike that in romantic relationships. I mean, people don’t usually become friends with just anyone, and I don’t think life stage alone is enough to base a relationship on. People often expect that moms with kids in preschool will make friends with other moms from the same preschool, but just being at the same place in life isn’t enough, really. If it were, everyone in a high school class might be friends with each other, and that’s not how it is. Nor is it just about hobbies or shared interests... even though we may have a natural affinity for others with the same interests or goals (like my general affinity for other writers), we still became closer to some people than others, even if we like them all. One would also think it had to do with outlook on life, and there’s definitely something to that, but it’s not as simple as sharing the same views. What particularly interests me is that some of the people I’ve hit it off with the best are people who, on the surface, are nothing like me. I may disagree with them vehemently on some core issues, and still feel some sort of bond with them that I don’t feel with everyone else in the same group. My theory is that it has something to do with personality type, but surprisingly, I can find very little written on the subject of how and why people become friends.

While countless books, magazine articles, and websites dissect and theorize about what attracts people to one another romantically, the "chemistry of friendship" seems almost completely overlooked. But I think it’s important, and interesting, and it’s something I’d like to understand more for my YA. Why does my character feel so little ability to fit in with those around her, and what is it that draws her to the people she is drawn to? Can she learn to change how she feels about the people around her? This was something I struggled with in my late teens, and I wasn’t sure where or how to find like-minded people, or what a like-minded person might look like. Like minds don’t always look alike to other people. So, if anyone has any books or other resources to recommend on this subject, let me know! I’ve already scouted out everything the local libraries and Amazon have to offer, and so far I’m coming up pretty short. (I did order one out-of-print book that seems to address this subject, but that’s about it.)

Now, drumroll, please. Rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-tat: Ta-da! While at the library, I made some changes to the actual text of my novel! I only got to write about a paragraph before the library closed, but I started this revision! And started making notes about the current structure, scene by scene, and realized that one minor character might be more important to the story than I'd thought. I was really moving along and then the library had to close. But I may go back in the morning while the kids are in school. It's easier to concentrate there. (Too bad next week is Spring Break & I won't have any time to myself then!)

No comments: