I have always wanted to be a writer. Sure there were passing ideas about being a translator for the United Nations, a spy, and a voiceover artist, but through all those fleeting occupation plans, I’ve wanted to be a writer.
I think the first story I ever wrote was called ‘Fluffy the Cat,’ and it was about a cat named Fluffy. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, I did show talent early on. You can call me gifted, I don’t mind.
When we start out as little baby writers, we emulate the authors we know and love. I went through phases where I wrote like Dr. Seuss and Cicely Mary Barker (the author/illustrator of all those Flower Fairy poems), Sylvia Plath and Peggy Hong. When I found Adrienne Rich’s The Fact of a Doorframe, it became my Bible. My copy is full of post-it tabs and the binding is broken. I wrote like 20 papers on her in college.
I know all of us make stupid decisions while in high school, but I made really stupid decisions in high school. For example, I thought a stellar look for my first homecoming dance would be to have my friend’s mom make me a renaissance outfit using gray and lavender plaid flannel fabric for the skirt. Who thinks of flannel for a formal dance? This girl. But this isn’t a post about fashion, it’s about writing. And I’m going to confess my most stupidest act as a writer. Are you ready for this?
My Most Stupidest Act as a Writer
I cheated on my boyfriend. I see some of you are confused. I can explain. I truly believed, in the deep down pit of my soul, that I did what I did because I thought it would make me a better writer. Pretty stupid, huh?
I was reading all these books about forbidden romances and free love and I was talking about them with someone I thought was a friend. I trusted her when she gave me advice. I know now, I was pretty much just a form of entertainment for her. She could live vicariously through me because I was the one making bad choices, hurting others’ feelings without any regard. How I wish I hadn’t been so naive.
Of course I’m sad that someone I thought was my friend didn’t talk a lick of sense into me, but ultimately this was my mistake. I believed the only way I could write like all these other authors I loved was to “experience everything.” Did the pain I caused my boyfriend make me a better writer? No. Of course not. Did it make me a better person? I hope so. I sure as hell would never put anyone through that kind of pain again, and as karma would have it, I felt what it was like personally a few years later. I don’t condemn all cheaters. People do what they do for all sorts of reasons. But thinking it would make them a better writer? Yah, if I hadn’t fooled myself into thinking that, I wouldn’t understand it.
So there you have it. My confession. My dirty little secret. I’m not proud of it. But I often wonder if the life lesson overall wasn’t worth it. I learned what it means to hurt someone, I learned what it means to be hurt by a friend. I don’t think it helped me with craft or editing, but it helped remind me I’m human. I will make mistakes – foolish ones I won’t believe I did. But I will try better next time.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done in the name of writing? I bet it’s not as stupid as mine.
It’s Guilty Pleasures Friday and I think it’s about time we talked books again here on the Happiness Project! I’ve been a bit slower with my reading progress this year, and feeling underwhelmed by some of the books I’ve started.
Therefore, it was a delightful change of heart when I finished reading Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins the other day.
Hex Hall is the story of Sophie, a teenager who cast a love spell gone wrong (hmm – I may have cast a few of those myself as a teen). Endangering herself and all magic beings by showing her power in front of humans, Sophie is sentenced to Hecate Hall, or Hex Hall as the students call it. A little bit Crime and Punishment, Hex Hall is the boarding school for misbehaving witches, faeries, shapeshifters, werewolves, and exactly one vampire – who just happens to be the most hated person at the school, and coincidentally, Sophie’s roommate.
Raised by a human mother, Sophie knows nothing of her magical family’s past, and with flying colors on her first day, manages to piss off the three snootiest teen witches she’ll ever meet. For Sophie, this is going to be a long year.
I must say at the start of the book, I judged it to be easily “figured out,” and thought the book contained too many similarities to the recent book/film hit, Beautiful Creatures.
I was wrong.
About halfway through the book, I didn’t want to put it down! Things started getting dangerous! Students were mysteriously attacked, left with bite marks and no memory! It seemed like Sophie’s crush, Archer, may be more than what he seems. And the ghost who was randomly appearing to Sophie, was now giving private magic lessons in a graveyard! I love cemeteries!
The hardest thing for me to do right now is not give away the amazing jaw dropping twist the end of the book reveals! I’m dying to tell someone about it, but then why would you read it?
So you have to read it for yourself!
Sometimes, it’s fun to lose yourself in a story, even if it’s another YA paranormal read and you already have too many of those on your bookshelf!
Hex Hall was fun. And best of all, it was surprising. And I think more great things will come from the author, who’s completed the Hex Hall trilogy with the sequels, Demonglass and Spellbound.
Rachel Hawkins lives in Alabama and is working on another trilogy series currently. She taught high school English for 3 years before leaving work to pursue her bigger passion – the book that became Hex Hall.
If you’re interested in learning more about her, I linked to her blog by clicking on her photo.
Give me a shout! Have you read Hex Hall? What did you think? What other books have completely surprised you once you got into them?
And what’s next on your “To Read” list?