Getting Caught Up

Hey readers, I’m alive! It turns out that instead of incubating creative ideas over the holiday, I was really incubating one of these:

A baby gummy bear, according to #6 Sara. No wonder I’ve been too sleepy to blog.

Despite my lazy excuses, I’ve been cooking up some fun writing tips that I hope will be as useful to others as they’ve been to me. Come back in two weeks and I’ll start posting a few. For now, I need to get ready for the big conference this weekend where I’ll be sharing what I know about writing a YA novel. If you’ll be in Cocoa Beach, come say hi. If you’re a robber—sorry, I have a house-sitter. Besides, I’m taking my laptop with me, and I haven’t bought another piece of technological gadgetry since 2003.

Okay, back to the schedule. It’s time for “Moment in Fiction Monday.”

I recently read a book I got for my birthday . . . back in April. It’s Tallulah Falls by Christine Fletcher, published in 2006 by Bloomsbury. It’s a contemporary, coming-of-age-type book. A little quiet. I miss seeing these types of books coming out lately, but if the ALA rumor is true, contemporary is making a comeback. Good news to me.

I liked a lot of the themes here, but especially an interesting take on dealing with stigmas. Maeve, who’s been diagnosed as bipolar, says to her friend:

“According to some people with lots of initials after their names, I’m bipolar.” Maeve spread her arms wide, glancing right and left, as if appealing to a crowd. “I ask you. What is bipolar?”

“Some kind of brain thing, isn’t it?”

Maeve’s hands collapsed into her lap. Wrong answer, Tallulah guessed.

“It’s nothing,” Maeve said. “It’s a label. That’s what I’m telling you. It doesn’t mean anything.” She leaned forward, elbows on her knees. Her grin was gone; she seemed now entirely serious. “Look. People don’t like it when they see other people moving differently through the world. They want to set it apart, away from themselves. So they put it in a box. Call it a name. It makes them feel safer.”

Differently through the world. Debbie repeated the words to herself. She moved differently through the world. That’s true, she thought. She just hadn’t known how to say it.

“When you start believing the label,” Maeve said, “that’s when they have you.”

Interesting ideas, for sure. But what surprised me was both the positive and negative consequences Maeve experiences as a result of adopting this viewpoint.

What books have you liked that deal with labels and the way it affects who characters become?

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3 Comments

Filed under Moment in Fiction

3 responses to “Getting Caught Up

  1. Ashley

    Hey Kim-
    We missed you at critique group, but we completely understand. Being sick AND pregnant is not a fun combo.
    I recently read a book called Out of My Mind. Its about a girl that (if I remember right) has cerebral palsy. She can’t speak, write, or walk, but she has a photographic memory. I’ve always been awkward around people with physical or mental handicaps. Not knowing what to do or say. But this book made me think long and hard about those with physcial and/or mental challenges in this life. I love it when a book makes you think.

  2. Melanie

    Congratulations, Kim! That’s exciting news! I’m guessing this means you won’t be helping out in Emily’s WIFYR class this year?
    As for books that deal with labels, I loved The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama. It’s all about the caste system in India and how that defines your life options.

  3. deborahhmoore

    Congrats on your gummy bear, and getting plenty of sleep. I hope you have a splendid time at the conference.
    In answer to your question, I’d have to say that Rules is my top pick for fighting against stigmas.