1. You should be embarrassed if you’re embarrassed to read YA (or Children’s books) - http://goo.gl/c1jUI7

    New Post has been published on http://canelsonauthor.com/2014/you-should-be-embarrassed-if-youre-too-snobby-to-read-ya/

    You should be embarrassed if you’re embarrassed to read YA (or Children’s books)

    Um…I know I’m late to the discussion of the controversial article by Ruth Graham on the Slate Book Review called “Against YA.” Like 3 months late, but I was working on the site at that time, and I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while!

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I linked to it above, but it’s a provocative post that seems like it was written to get people mad. Which, worked, frankly. The subtitle is, “Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.”

    Madeline Kahn "Flames on the side of my face" from Clue

    Not to mention that sentence is clunky, but let’s not split hairs in malice!

    My junkie genre is children’s lit, and I have a whole shelf full of them, as well as my favorite YA books, of which there are many. And since I’m writing what I consider YA or Middle-Grade high fantasy, I was a little peeved that she would feel the need to be so snippy about something I hold so dear.

    So no. No, you shouldn’t be embarrassed. Because people shouldn’t be bullies making blanket statements. You shouldn’t be guilted or shamed into doing or not doing something you find adds value to your life, especially something as universal and wonderful as reading in your spare time, seriously. It’s like she doesn’t even bother to consider that other people have a variety of interests that are as valid as her own, and that’s just plain arrogance.

    I think adults should strive to read books with deeper themes to round out their perspectives and ideas, and I don’t want to rule out the thought that Graham is trying to make a point, and not just trying to get clicks. However, the way the article was written could have been said differently without stepping on so many toes. If you taunt, people are going to lash back.

    angry goat

    My goat/ibex was got. Got good. Maaahh.

    So I respectfully disagree. There.

    For deeper discussions, and to funnel my frustration into seeking out the well-worded edification of others who shared my sympathies, I read a few rebutting articles, and here are some of my favorite quotes from them. And I’m only scratching the surface. Just search, “you should be embarrassed to read YA” and you’ll find these and more.

    Hilary Kelly, in her short, great article that waxes on the wonder of YA that helps you connect with your younger self, says,

    …The article’s biggest problemaside from its snide, nasty, belittling tone and self-satisfied, obviously click-baity headlineis Graham’s exceedingly limited understanding of why someone reads, and why they might choose to read a book that doesn’t challenge them on an academic level … [she] confuses literary criticism and review and dissection for smug scolding. She doesn’t unpack why adults would want to revisit their childhood via literature. … [I read YA] to remind myself of how deeply the decisions of my childhood have ingrained themselves on my soon-to-be-thirty brain. It’s a chance to remember that the complexities of adulthood are just variations on those from childhood.

    Kathleen Hale brings up in her amazing satirical article that,

    [YA isn’t] an actual genre, it’s a market designation, and it shifts over time. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was originally published for children, and everyone from Flannery O’Connor to snobbish reporters at The Atlantic used to grumble about how adults shouldn’t read it—your arguments about taste are nothing new. They’re not as radical as you think.

    Non Pratt is a girl after my own heart:

    I have a confession to make: I am an adult and I only read YA (and children’s books.) … There is no intrinsically beneficial reason why I should value complexity over simplicity, or ambiguity over clarity. What Ruth Graham seeks from novels is not what I seek from novels, but that does not make me a lesser adult than her. It makes me a different one. Something that YA has always kept in the forefront of my mind – a concept too simple for adult consumption – is that difference is something to be celebrated, not shamed.

    Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post stands up for “A Wrinkle in Time” and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” two of my favorite classic books/series in my genre niche:

    Graham waves aside “the transparently trashy stuff like ‘Divergent’ and ‘Twilight,’“apparently dismissing the idea that any young adult fiction in the science fiction or fantasy modes might merit a defense as serious literature. The writer and critic Michelle Dean named “A Wrinkle in Time” and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series as two examples that might meet that standard. Both are deeply engaged with Christian ideals. The former is a sometimes-terrifying meditation on the ways in which great intelligence can betray us. The latter tells us that growing up means the expulsion from paradise.

    In a two-for-one article on the B&N website, Ester Bloom makes a good point about Graham’s possible intent, which I don’t disagree with,

    As an adult, you do not have an obligation to expand your mind, to challenge yourself, to expose yourself to new and potentially difficult ideas. But it is often the right thing to do. Graham’s tone sometimes gets in her way, but that’s all she is really trying to say.

    And Dahlia Adler writes,

    The thing about book-shaming—whether YA or Romance or comic books—is that more than anything, it just declares to the world that the person doing the shaming isn’t well-read enough to have found the gems.

    And finally, Elisabeth Donnelly, (who I linked above, and said Graham is trying to make a point) tells us that this belittling attitude of Slate’s towards YA isn’t a new thing, and concludes,

    You should be ashamed of reading sh*tty books that don’t do anything to stimulate your curiosity and reveal some hint of human experience and connection, whatever its “quality.” There’s good and bad in every genre, from the most insufferable piece of self-indulgent, experimental, literary adult stuff to the most transparent picked-up-by-a-publisher New Adult fan fiction disguised as a book.

    So yeah. Booyah.

    Lydia Bennet from Lizzie Bennet Diaries, "Talk about your truth universally acknowledged, am I right?"

    I'm gonna go read a book with pictures

  2. Moss approves of this new massive roll of yarn that’s almost as big as him. #crochet #blackcats

    Moss approves of this new massive roll of yarn that’s almost as big as him. #crochet #blackcats

  3. Confessions of an Insecure Author* (#200!) - http://goo.gl/9m9smd

    New Post has been published on http://canelsonauthor.com/2014/confessions-insecure-author/

    Confessions of an Insecure Author* (#200!)

    *I know, pretty much all you authors out there are :P So, come commiserate with me.

    So, Labor Day weekend was a roller coaster for my writing emotions.

    For the first part of the weekend, we spent some time with friends at a beautiful farm house inn. I went to sleep to the sounds of thunder storms or barking farm dogs (kept there to chase off coyotes) and woke up to the misty mornings of sweet, quiet open space, punctuated by rooster calls. We ate breakfast in the common room with the other guests, and I met a fellow tea lover and tea pot collector at the hot drink bar, who told me she’s always wanted to have a tea room.

    It had been a long time since I took a walk in the woods with friends, or swung on a tire swing. Before that weekend, I hadn’t seen shed snake skins left halfway up a tree trunk, or enjoyed watching a big muddy farm dog chase a flustered chicken. Did you know that turkeys like to eat cantaloupe? And that they make little contented purring noises? They do! I must have petted a horse’s long cheeks before, but I forgot how soft they are, and I’d almost forgotten that they’re that huge and that intimidating to stand next to.

    (This would be the perfect time to post pictures, but I was relaxing so hard I didn’t take any.)

    At night we lay on a quilt and watched shooting stars streak through a crystal clear dark sky, or sat by a hot fire pit and watched distant heat lightning. I even serenaded a little toad I found sitting on a stump next to me, as my friend played guitar. Inspiration was everywhere. The simple magic of an uncomplicated life untied my heavy burdens and left them discarded on the road the way we came.

    But of course I had to pick them back up again as we headed towards city and home.

    We skipped Dragon*Con this year, mostly because of burn out, and because of our time at the farm house inn. But that meant we could finally try out the Decatur Book Festival on Sunday! Grasping our spur of the moment decision, we headed out with plans to wander around and see what everything was about. In retrospect, I’m excited to go again with more of an agenda for seeing panels and author talks next time.

    But the day was hot, like, uncomfortably so, and we had no money that week to spend on books, or much of anything else pretty and amusing at the booths. We were feeling non-committal, and there weren’t any authors we were burning to see (except Jude Watson and John Scieszka, but we couldn’t find them easily in our lazy state). So we mostly wandered around free stuff tables and got some interesting event fliers. But as I passed the booths advertising up-and-coming authors and selling their books…much to my embarrassment, a gray, nay, BLACK cloud descended over me.

    I realized how helpless I felt as an author trying to get published. Seeing everyone around me with so much success, I felt like I was at the bottom of an impossible mountain that I had barely started to climb. Instead of rejoicing in their successes, I was forest green with envy. I’d been trying for forever, putting myself out there the past few years, but I kept getting rejected and shrinking back into my shell. I felt like I had no powerful allies, no one who wanted to fight for what I saw in my book series, and help me polish my rough stone to a fine shine. I was alone in this. I sucked. I didn’t have enough opportunities, though lots of booths seemed eager to reach out to college students and young adults. I felt worthless. It was absolutely horrible, and on top of that I was feeling angry at feeling my feelings, when all I wanted to do was enjoy the awesome Decatur Book Festival.

    Forever alone author

    Over lunch, I poured my writery angst out to my wonderful, practical Wervyn, and he helped me re-frame my perspective and inspired me to keep looking for agents and to keep editing, to keep working and not give up. Thank God for him, I never want to think about my life without him in it.

    I’m so fearful of being judged in almost every area of my life, but writing and creativity particularly (which I’m not alone in feeling). That’s something I keep praying for strength to reject, because I’m horrible at staying positive by myself. What if I never find an agent? What if no one else, other than my family and friends, thinks I have worth as an artist or writer? I can’t let those thoughts consume me, though they do so often.

    I’m in a bit of a writing slump still, starting the new job and work schedule, and trying to get everything done, including shoehorning a little editing in every day. I’m not doing it regularly, but if even if I do a little, at least I’m working. Plus, I figure if writing my series hasn’t gotten shelved by now, I don’t think it ever could, really and truly.

    I found this image on Pinterest, and it sometimes shows up as one of my revolving desktop wallpapers:

    I just want to make beautiful things even if nobody cares. Once I find out who did this awesome piece, I will happily credit them here.

    When I looked at it again after all this, I felt something was missing. So here’s my version, a message of hope and longing for everyone out there who is scared to be themselves sometimes, or a lot of the time:

    I don’t want to be afraid to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”

    (I’m kind of inspired to make text art out of this. If I do, I’ll post it here.)

    So this is a reminder to future Christina, and anyone else who reads this and is working so hard to make room for their dreams, but is so scared of what might, or might not, happen…just, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s like dieting or cleaning your house: don’t freak out or think about it too much, just start where you are today and go from there.

    And, you are not the only one who feels like the only one.

    •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

    On a more lighthearted note, I just realized…

    This is my 200th blog post!

    Pinkie Pie throws confetti

    It’s poetic that my 200th post is so open and honest about my struggles as a writer. It feels right somehow :)

    I made my first post on Blogger in 2009 before exporting it to this site, so this March was my fifth blogiversary! A lot has changed in five years and 200 blog+vlog posts (not counting my other slice of life VEDAs and videos on my Youtube channel), but I plan to keep it going as I continue my writing journey. Thank you to all my followers, from the ones who’ve watched me from the beginning, to the ones who just started. I’m excited to see where the road takes me.

  4. New shiny site design! - http://goo.gl/GlWq6a

    New Post has been published on http://canelsonauthor.com/2014/new-shiny-site-design/

    New shiny site design!

    The new and improved CANelsonAuthor.com

    Hi everyone! Welcome back to the new and improved canelsonauthor.com!

    Not only has the URL changed a little, hacking off the superfluous “official” part, as you probably noticed, but I’ve made some design changes as well! Hope you like it! I certainly do! It’s been a long time coming. Just letting you know, I deleted all my extra post categories and listed everything under “Blog,” and I’ve been cleaning out my list of tags, which might mess up some page linking throughout the Web (to say nothing of changing the urls). But thankfully, everything should still point to this site, and I didn’t delete any posts, so between the search bar and the tag cloud on the 404 page, you should be able to locate everything if you get lost. I’ll probably still be tinkering around after today, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s icing. Thanks for being awesome, WordPress!

    I know I was thinking of relaunching in November, but I just couldn’t wait! I had so many fun things I wanted to blog and vlog about, especially since we’re coming up on fall and winter, my favorite time of the year. Not to mention that Talk Like a Pirate Day and Hobbit Day are coming up, and I naturally MUST talk about those! And speaking of that…

    I intend to post at least one blog or vlog a month.

    This is one of the biggest promises I’m trying to keep to myself, hopefully giving me plenty of time to plan and write and film and schedule posts so that I don’t get too overwhelmed with the task. I have to split time between the blog, my new part-time job working at Pike Nurseries, any graphic design freelance I pick up (and relaunching THAT site, *sigh*), and of course, editing and writing, THE REASON I AM HERE!

    As I was going through my years of old blog and vlog posts, I was re-inspired to keep chronicling my life through the lens of being a writer, like I had when I started posting in 2009. This will likely mean status updates and thinking through things that might be rambling (which really isn’t a big change). But hey, at this point my audience is small, and no matter how big it gets, I want to do this for me, so I want to enjoy it! Plus, I’m hoping to get better editing software at some point (which I thought I’d have this year), which will ideally make the editing vlog process more fun and less stressful too.

    So thanks for being patient, and I look forward to sharing and connecting with you all!

    ~Christina
  5. OH MY GOSH she’s talking now?! Where have I been?

  6. Necklaces by RubyRobinBoutique.

    Absolutely incredible!

  7. fuckyeahhistorycrushes:

"King" Christina of Sweden.
This bitch is bad-fucking-ass; at only the age of SIX she succeeded her father on the throne of Sweden. When she was born she was mistaken for a boy, she spoke in a “strong, hoarse voice” and dressed masculine. She was raised as a male, essentially, and was one of the only females of the time to be educated as if she were a man. She was one of the first Swedish to convert to Roman Catholicism in 1654, which lead to her abdicate her throne. She spent her later years in Rome, protecting artists and projects. She is one of the very few woman to be buried in the Vatican grotto. 

Awesome namesake is awesome :D

    fuckyeahhistorycrushes:

    "King" Christina of Sweden.

    This bitch is bad-fucking-ass; at only the age of SIX she succeeded her father on the throne of Sweden. When she was born she was mistaken for a boy, she spoke in a “strong, hoarse voice” and dressed masculine. She was raised as a male, essentially, and was one of the only females of the time to be educated as if she were a man. She was one of the first Swedish to convert to Roman Catholicism in 1654, which lead to her abdicate her throne. She spent her later years in Rome, protecting artists and projects. She is one of the very few woman to be buried in the Vatican grotto. 

    Awesome namesake is awesome :D

  8. I really needed to hear this today. Thanks, @createandthrive

    I really needed to hear this today. Thanks, @createandthrive

  9. Vlogs that I forgot to post on here - http://goo.gl/V0F0Gt

    New Post has been published on http://canelsonauthor.com/2014/vlogs-that-i-forgot-to-post/

    Vlogs that I forgot to post on here

    Remember how I used to have a Youtube video importing plugin that stopped importing my vlogs a number of months ago? Yeah. That was fun.

    As I’m updating my site I have to go back, delete the random vlogs I don’t really want on here (they’ll still be up on my Youtube channel) and re-embed the ones I do want, cuz I just got sick of the plugin.

    SO, in honor of Throwback Thursday, I’m posting some of these older ones from this year and the end of last year, which I really like a lot, but never made it here.

    They’re posted from most to least recent. Do enjoy!

  10. Granny squares and my needle holder bracelet. #crochet

    Granny squares and my needle holder bracelet. #crochet

About me

I write stuff, and draw stuff and craft stuff sometimes.

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