A reflection on my ill-fated “first love.”
Accidentally posted this to the wrong blog last night…
When a celebrity dies, the first wave of public response consists of shock and devastation. The second wave consists of the cynical among us who say, “Harrumf! Normal people die every day, and no one notices or cares! Why should they be so special?”
If the “harrumf” is not literally uttered, it is, at the very least, implied.
Well, here’s why “no one notices or cares” when “normal” people die:
1: Because how would anyone notice? No one tells you when the guy two blocks down dies, AND
2: What did the guy two blocks down ever do for you? Even if you’d met or spoken to that guy, does his contribution to your life necessarily surpass the contribution made, albeit unknowingly, by a singer or actor?
No. Of course not.
Let’s say you like a band. As in, like a band a lot. I’m talking you know pretty much every song, go to the concerts (or daydream about being able to), buy the t-shirt, and generally never shut up about how fantastic this band is.
If you like a band this much, there is a very god chance that you will obsessively stockpile fairly useless information about at least one of its members. Maybe you won’t, and that’s fine. But a lot of people do. And when you spend a lot of time reading articles, watching interviews, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, you start to get a sense that you know the person, to some extent, and I don’t believe that assumption is completely incorrect. Obviously, there are delusional people who take things way too far, but I do believe that in most cases, you can get a decent sense of what someone is like from interviews and the like. You can’t tell me that every word a seemingly pleasant and down-to-earth celebrity utters for the press is a fabrication and that all of them are secretly terrible. You just can’t.
So firstly, you have this fondness for one or all members of a band because of the work they produce, which honestly kind of speaks for itself and gives you a good enough reason to care if they live or die. And then you have an awareness that they seem to be a genuinely awesome person on top of that.
…And then they die, and you’re expected to shrug your shoulders and say “Oh well, people die every day”?
No. The random people who die every day don’t mean anything in particular to you. That celebrity does. AND THAT’S OKAY. That’s kind of the idea.
I also think that when we mourn a celebrity’s death, we’re also mourning mortality in general. We don’t think of celebrities as human. We know people all have to die eventually, but celebrities? They’re not like normal people. We don’t see normal people on magazine covers and make-up commercials, so we forget that the same rules apply to them. When we are reminded of that, we are reminded of our own inevitable ends, as well.
There’s nothing wrong with being gutted over a celebrity’s death. Musicians and the like set out to touch lives. What’s wrong with acknowledging that they succeeded?
Having entered the Like a Virgin 2013 contest, I am consumed with a fretful anxiety that sets me to pacing in circles and refreshing Twitter, where I am commiserating with the like-minded, over and over again. The blog hop, though helpful, has not been enough to occupy my tormented mind, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. With this in mind, I took the liberty of posing seven MORE questions for you, my peers and competitors, to answer…
1: Who was the first character you came up with?
2: Who was the first person to read your book?
3: How long did your first draft take?
4: What was the first thing you changed when you started revisions?
5: Who was your first celebrity crush?
6: What are the first TWO WORDS of your book?
7: What was the first book that made you cry?
1: Ericka, which probably explains why she transitioned from being “one of the three main characters” to “THE main character.”
2: My husband read the first draft as I went till about halfway through, at which point I realized it was terrible and locked him out of the Google document. The first person to read it all the way through was my friend Sarah, who was an absolute delight because she’d supply me with near-constant commentary as she read. She would make these wonderful comments about the characters and make outlandish predictions about side characters (I.e “I think Alex’s mom is a prostitute.” Spoiler alert: She isn’t.)
3: 17 days.
4: Tons of little things, but what stands out is the fact that in the first draft, I had misspelled “windshield” every single time it appeared.
5: I kind of regret posing this question, because now I have to answer it too! Does anyone remember the season of American Idol from years back, the one where Sanjaya Malakar held on for weeks and weeks despite not being very good? I thought he was all kinds of fine. When he sang “Besame Mucho”? GUSH.
6: “The shattered.”
7: I read a lot of the California Diaries books when I was about twelve. (I had no idea they had anything to do with The Baby-sitters Club until I looked it up just now. Those were before my time.) One of Sunny’s books really got to me because it hit too close to home.
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…
I woke up at 5:55 AM this morning just to ensure my eligibility in the Like a Virgin contest for unpublished YA/NA novels. The organizers of this lovely event have started a blog hop and asked participants to answer the following questions…
1: How do you remember your first kiss?
I didn’t much care for it! I was sitting on the couch in my father’s living room, and I just remember staring at this houseplant across the room wishing it wouldn’t happen. Oh dear.
2: What was your first favorite love song?
Hmm, probably something really embarrassing! I would guess “Forever and Always” by Shania Twain. I went through a country phase around ages 10-13.
3: What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?
I don’t have a set schedule for writing, so I really couldn’t tell you. When I was working on the first draft of Thursday’s Children, I was in the habit of drinking Arizona lemon tea and using this hemp oil hand lotion that smelled like chocolate and cherries, though.
4: Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?
Probably Margaret Peterson Haddix. I was obsessed with her books when I was little, and I think there’s definitely a bit of that “old school” YA flavor in my writing. Honestly, though, my memories of trying to write stories all but pre-date my memories of reading.
5: Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with?
Despite a fair bit of worrying over that, yes.
6: For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?
Characters, absolutely. To varying degrees, they were living in my head for years before I ever started writing their story, or even knew all of what their story was. Figuring out the plot and the characters was a very synergistic sort of thing, though, because they wouldn’t be who they are at all without the plot. As for the setting, I was really lazy and used my hometown – I really enjoy reading books where I recognize real places, so I thought it would be nice, if I ever get published, to give people from little old Westerville, Ohio that experience.
7: What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing?
Honestly, I have no idea. It’s not that I’m saying voice or technical skill aren’t important, but I really don’t care if people think of my writing as “lyrical” or “bold” or any of those book-reviewer type adjectives. I don’t really care if they think about how I write at all, as long as it doesn’t impede the story. I’d rather they think about the story than how exactly it’s written.
I’m not sure any of my WordPress followers know who I am, so I thought I should take a minute to introduce myself.
I’m Caron. I live in Ohio and work a horribly unremarkable job. I never went to college. I’ve never published a thing (unless you count an article for a church newspaper when I was sixteen). I am, to put it simply, nobody – but I’m trying very hard to be somebody.
Between November of last year and May of this year, I wrote my first book. It’s a contemporary young adult novel about three sisters who have reacted to their mother’s death, and the unseemly circumstances surrounding it, in very different ways – ways that leave them at odds with each other. It’s called Thursday’s Children and I would gladly talk anyone’s ear off about it. So, a lot of what you’ll see on here pertains to the struggle of trying to get that story out into the world.
While I am very obsessive about writing and everything related to it (I’m trying to take on as many beta reading projects as possible), there is, of course, more to me than that. I am obsessed with The Fault in Our Stars, the British TV series My Mad Fat Diary, and everything pertaining to MIKA. I used to consume entirely too much anime and manga, and am still fiercely loyal to several series (Ouran High School Host Club, FLCL, Kare Kano, Fruits Basket, etc). I collect thimbles and drink a lot of Mountain Dew.
So, if anyone wants to chat about anything like that… Here I am.