Thursday, March 21, 2013

To date, I have had exactly three diaries. All of them have been destroyed in dramatic ways: fire, ripped into tiny pieces then scattered in the back crick, smooshed down into the side of a rubbish bin full of slime...where no one would dare go to retrieve it. I even deleted all posts (but one) on my personal blog. All of this would not be shocking if you knew me well.

In fact, I get enormous delight from the horror that others display at my single-handed mission to destroy the person that I Was. Picture me laughing like a villain. Right. Now. That picture is much more indicative of me as a person than any diary entry from age ten or fifteen or twenty-one. (Possibly I'm trying to destroy the evidence of all the "I hate my mom" entries...technically, I just did another one so there's not much hope this post will survive for very long).

"I am large, I contain multitudes" (thank ye, Walt Whitman).  Much more Now than Here or There...

If you haven't heard, Nova Ren Suma's latest novel 17 & GONE is being released today. RELEASED.  (After this post, I'm heading to the bookstore.  I don't mess around).  And this week on her blog she's been hosting several author's entries on what haunted them at age seventeen. Three of my fave posts, Jon Skovron, Kat Rosenfield, and Libba Bray still haunt me Now.

me at 17, pixelated
I don't remember being haunted at seventeen, but I am often haunted today by my seventeen year-old self. And I've been systematically trying to destroy her. Not because she's embarrassing (she is) or naive (holy smokes) or hideous (it's important to be hideous)...but because she isn't me. She's not true any longer.  But I can't escape her just the same.

actress Sharon Rooney 
Recently I discovered a UK television show that is so me, it's ridiculous. MY MAD FAT DIARY (based on the book by Rae Earl).  It takes place in a town in Lincolnshire (northish part of England) in the late 90's.  YOU might have to look around the TUBE to find this show as it's not been released in America.  But there are sneaky ways to find it, if you're of the sneaky variety (why are you not?)  Rae is boy-mad, overweight, overlooked, music-obsessed, and trying desperately to keep herself together.  She is everything.

There's also this book you might have heard about...reviewed by John Green, hit the NY bestseller list..ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell...ringing any bells...yeah? that book's me too.  I could go on and on listing things that are me.  Music, plays, puddles..."I am large, I contain multitudes" but I think you get the picture (at least I hope you do).

everything here is me, but the flower
Because here's the other thing.  I don't just find myself in stuff, but I put myself in places (that's my diary)....In rearranging a new artsy nook, in placing my pencils in a perfect row, where I hang pictures on the walls, the songs I wake up to in my head, the jokes I tell (because "there ain't no rust on the Happiness Bus"), the stories I write over and over and over.  In the next life, I'll be a poltergeist.

my car at 17, old buddy, old pal
Anyone who creates knows IT'S NEVER PERFECT.  You keep editing until someone takes it out of your hands or you place it in hiding (or you destroy it).  And Being Sarah is another one of those things that I'm always working on.  I'm mostly me Now.  The biggest leap of faith I'm willing to take is that I will be something else pretty Soon.

See you around.
(and please share your stories of what haunted you at 17 or just anything so I'm not on here all by myself looking large, thank ye).


Rebecca Barrow said...

I love this post. (And don't worry, you're not alone, because I wrote one too!) Plus, you have reminded me that I really need to watch My Mad Fat Diary. I know, I know, I live in the UK, why haven't I already watched it...I'll get to it, promise!

Kristan said...

What haunted me is way too long to put into this comment box -- in fact, I hope to write a book about it someday -- but Sarah, this post is brilliant, and if you delete it, I will kill you.

(Actually, no, I will just put it back up. I copied & pasted it just in case. Neener neener! :P Also, Nova Ren linked to it, so seriously, don't delete!!)

Truth be told, I think I'm more haunted now than I was at 17. At 17, my life was full of hopes and possibilities. As I get older, some of my dreams are fading away, and my failure to achieve them is what haunts me.

But! Life goes on. I may be 27 instead of 17, but I'm still young enough to achieve plenty. Because despite the plans I had as a teenager, I've learned that you're never too old, and it's never too late, to succeed.

Unknown said... are delightful, thank you for commenting. I'm going to go read your post in a minute. YES please watch MFD, you probably don't even have to be sneaky to see it. It's hysterical, sad, real, awkward...basically all the good stuff.

@Kristan...I knew there was a chance the internet was forever. It doesn't burn or drown so easily. You are my guardian against myself and I love you for it. :) The fact that you said "neener" makes it so much easier to digest as well.

I can't wait for you to write your haunting book so I can read it (even though I have my suspicions of the subject matter). There is little doubt in my mind that you will succeed. xx

Adrianne Russell said...

I'm guilty of trying to erase my past selves (yes, selves, because I have a hard time settling on just one me). I just sobbed all over ELEANOR & PARK and saw a lot of myself in it too. Thanks for sharing this post!

kaye (paper reader) said...

I thought a great many times about writing a post for Nova, but I just never knew how to start it, much less how to finish it. And so I didn't, but I am so humbled and delighted by all of the brilliant posts that have been popping up in response.

I have been thinking, though, that I'm much happier lately now that I've accepted how much of a nerd I am (in many things: music, books, writing, squeeing over things I enjoy) via creating my blog and interacting with people who enjoy the same things as me (and other, new and exciting things!) that it's OKAY to be a nerd. It's okay to like things. It's okay to get excited about things you enjoy.

I always think of John Green's quote on being a nerd and nerdfighteria in saying that implying being one is never bad thing because it's a miracle of human consciousness, the act of liking and enjoying something.

It's okay to like things, it's okay to have goals and believe in them. I think, maybe, that's what I've been learning for quite a while.

Sarah, I loved your post and, Kristan, I loved your response!

elena said...

I love the shout out to MMFD + Eleanor & Park! I even did a post with two of them together because I love them so much. I still very much feel like a seventeen year old so it's often strange to me to realise I am NOT.

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

I just saw something about that show the other day! It definitely seems like something I would enjoy and be able to relate to.

In a sad way, I think some of the things that haunt me at 17 still haunt me now. And that's hard to admit, because there seems to be this attitude that you can just get over things and forget about them, but for me that's a misnomer. I definitely think I've learned and grown in a lot of ways, but I also still feel like an insecure teenager on some fundamental level. Hmmm...

Unknown said...

@Adrianne...thanks so much for commenting. So glad ye get me. :)

@Kaye...your comments and presence are so calming and positive. I always look forward to your take on things. It is hard to think of what to post on the topic...I didn't start out intending to write it, but I'm actually glad that I did. Nerds of the world, UNITE!

@Elena...woot! Knew we were kindreds when I decided to stalk you on twitter (tmi??)'s so hard to get over things. You're right they don't always go away...and I'm with you as far as that insecure teen...she's hanging out all the time. But she's not all that I am anymore. And she's not all that you are either. And don't forget, your tribe <3's ya.

Nova Ren Suma said...

Sarah, Oh this post! Love! Thank you so much for sharing this and for helping me celebrate 17 & GONE coming out in the world. You're amazing. If you'd like some swag in thanks, I will send it your way, so just email me!


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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



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The Bitter Kingdom
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Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
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The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
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