Your Smile On Fire

...from the song Xavia

a rant on fluffiness.

Okay. I have a few things to say tonight.

  1. Remember how way back when I said I wanted to do a post on the bible and religion? Do you also remember how unlike the many prophecies in the bible, that never quite came to pass? Um, well. I am still working on it and still very much planning on writing it. The problem is that because I care about this subject more than any other, I really really want it to be good and well thought out and well written and overall the sort of post on the bible and religion that doesn't polarize people, which talk of religion/the bible tends to do. I'm trying to avoid that. Also it might be more than one post because there is a lot I want to say.
  2. I am on LIPSTICKING, with a wonderous quote about kindergarten and growing up and Kelsey, who I don't actually talk to all that much anymore (cue sad face; she is an awesome person), but who is turning out to be exactly who she always knew she would be, which is awesome. (Haha actually we're both turning out to be exactly who we knew we would be. Amazing.)
  3. I also have plenty to say about the re-release of the Sweet Valley High books and the controversial (and, um, awful?!) move of them changing Elizabeth and Jessica's size from a "perfect" 6 to a "perfect" 4. Puke. I'm planning on posting this particular rant both here and over at Page Numbered, which if you don't already know is my book blog that I am totally loving.
  4. And NOW for today's post, which is something I've been thinking a lot about...


I know I don't exactly write high-brow stuff. I write about teenage girls and crushes and friendships and the little insignificant moments in life. I write about wanting to grow up and not wanting to grow up and all that stuff that I'm facing or will face or have faced.


I write young adult. And, okay, you can call it fluff if you want to. I know that (assuming my books see the light of day), I will never write something like To Kill A Mockingbird or anything else that makes everyone stop and think. I won't write anything that changes the lives of so many people and I won't be standing up and accepting the Pulitzer or Nobel prize. And I know, I know not everyone thinks the fiction I write is worth anything.


But here's the thing: call it fluff or nonsense or whatever you want, but I have to believe it isn't. I have to believe, for the sake of my sanity, that my words can hurt or help or change someone. I have to believe, and I do believe, that my words have power. Power that not everyone is going to see, but power nonetheless.


I have this notebook, purchased at Borders (R.I.P. and please don't die) for more money than I'd like to admit. Some spend $300 on a new pair of shoes, I buy a few sheets of paper for $15. But anyways. In this notebook I have quotes from books. By far the large majority of these books are fiction, mostly young adult, and exactly the sort of stuff that is considered fluff. I've got Maureen Johnson and E. Lockhart and Sarah Dessen and many others that you probably haven't even heard of. But the thing is... those lines, the "fluff" words in that book? They matter to me. They're lines, words, passages that spoke to me, that hurt or helped or changed me somehow. Honestly (and you can think I'm being kooky here if you want to) I think that words have this power. I think that everything we read has the ability to change us, to mold us just a little bit or help us see things in the right light. And I think it has that ability whether its nonfiction or fiction, classics or young adult - as long as it hits someone in just the right way, it's worth it. It matters. Mostly what I have in the book are quotes that capture emotions, that assure me I am not alone. For example, these few lines from the ARC of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which I love love love:


It didn't matter that in her heart Frankie knew she was smart and charming.

What mattered was that feeling of being expendable. That to Porter, she was a nobody that could easily be replaced by a better model -- and the better model wasn't even so great.

Which meant that Frankie herself was nearly worthless.


Or this one, from The Truth About Forever:


You never got used to it, the idea of someone being gone. Just when you think it's reconciled, accepted, someone points it out to you and it just hits you all over again, that shocking.


I'm not sure quite how to transition from here and all I'm really trying to do is selfishly defend my own writing and maybe it is fluff and maybe it will never matter to anyone, but I don't think so. I think there are moments of realism and relatability and I think that it matters in a very small way and I refuse to think that what I want to do with my life and this great passion that I have for words and storytelling and creating characters that are real is entirely superficial. I have to believe it matters.



kalim said:

Quotes are SO important. Even the fluffy ones. Because, we can relate to the fluffy ones. They actually speak to us because they're meant to speak to us. Because we're, 'young adults.'

April 17, 2008 8:54 PM


Oct. 15 [going to work soon] [two school essays due; majorly nervous about both] [remember when i wrote that short story where the girl said "majorly" every other WORD practically? ha]